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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:29 pm

'USE YOUR ILLUSION I & II'
LOOKING BACK AT THE ALBUMS AND THEIR MAKING


The fact that Use Your Illusion albums were made, is a miracle in itself.

___________________________________________________________________

During the process of recording the albums, band members would comment upon the lengthy process.

In May 1991, Slash was asked why it had taken so long:

Actually, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that’s taking long and that made it take a long time. I mean, all this success made it take a long time, that sudden realization of, like, being huge. I know it blew my mind and threw me for a loop, right? Especially cuz we’ve been... we were, sort of like, just not from that school at all. So that took a little while. I mean, that took till just recently for me to adjust as far as home life goes. And then there was the associated drug problems that ensued. And then there was, you know, the situation with Steven and then finding somebody to replace Steven and, you know, finding somebody to fit into the band, fit into the folds, right? Which was no easy task at all. So, like, we couldn’t put an ad in the Post, you know. And then, after that, it was getting us in a studio. No, working out the material with Matt and then getting in the studio. And we did the studio stuff really quick, like, the basics, and then I went and did guitars and all that stuff. Then we just spent a lot, we enjoy being in the studio, and although we did wanna go out on tour, we had all this material and we wanted to do it good, so I mean... yeah. Plus we just sat around, like, sort of watch the music scene turn into sludge again. I was terrified so we just hung out until the timing was right.

Well, we toured for so fucking long, and by the time the tour was over we were told we were mega - Spinal Tap, you know. You're great! You're great! And we're still walking around trying to make sure you don't have a stain on your jeans after you take a piss kind of thing. And there's all this stuff going on around you, all these people treating you like you're on a pedestal even if you don't feel that way. So we went from nowhere to being this really huge band, not feeling any different, only having people tell you that and react to you a certain way.

When they dropped us off at the airport after the tour was over, I had nowhere to go. It kind of runs in the family with us - maybe not with Axl but definitely with me - where if I'm not busy and focused, I get loaded to pass the time. So that's what happened. I went through a phase of that and then I cleaned up and we tried to rehearse and we were writing material.

The worst thing of it, though, was because of no longer having to live in one room, the band got separated, getting their own homes. And that was the hardest part. It's like Slash is here, Axl's here, Izzy's over there, Duff's here, and I don't even know where Steven lives, right? Like, Duff, can we come over? "Well, the gardener's coming today..." That was a whole huge experience that took a really long time for me to adjust to.

I moved into an apartment, the cheapest apartment I could find off of Sunset Boulevard - that's how demented I am, right? - and we just used to party all the time and have amps all about the place and I'd write songs and Duff would come over and every so often Axl would come over and we'd write together. But it was such a long period. And I got so wrapped up in dope and coke and all the fucking scum that goes along with it that finally it just got out of hand. So I cleaned up and bought a house. Then I sat in the house for a while and hated it. I'd lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. There was nothing to do. And then I got back into it and got strung out in a serious way, where everybody was really worried and I had some close run-ins with the police. But then the Stones gigs came around - which I really wanted to do to bring the band back together; that's why after the Stones gigs (and Axl's onstage ultimatum) I went and cleaned up - and then it was Steven's turn.

I keep reading about delays in getting the record out, but as far as the band is concerned, there really have been no delays. The only (rule) we had was to make the best record we could, regardless of how long it took. […] But we had people at the record company come up with deadlines on when they wanted the record out and we'd go, 'OK, we'll do our best (to meet the deadline),' and we tried. But we were not going to give anybody the record until we felt it was done.

We work so hard at playing. And yet, everybody spends so much time just trying to pull out all this really negative stuff about our, you know, drugs, and sex, and band relationships, and the guys in the band and stuff. It makes it so hard for us just to concentrate on playing, which is one of the reasons why it took us long to get the record together, because after a while the hype just got to be overwhelming. And we locked ourselves away in the studio, and it was great to be in the element and just spend all our time playing. But even then, it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard.

But we worked our asses off together. I don’t think anybody realizes how much work that was; you know, especially when it comes out and people are like, “Oh, it’s cool.” They won’t know how much went into it. It was like blood, sweat and tears – I mean, you know, it was heavy.

People want something, and they want it as soon as they can get it. Needy people. And I'm the same way, but I want it to be right - I don't want it to be half-assed. Since we put out Appetite for Destruction, I've watched a lot of bands put out two to four albums. They went out, they did a big tour, they were big rock stars for that period of time. That's what everybody is used to now - the record companies push that. But I want no part of that. We weren't just throwing something together to be rock stars. We wanted to put something together that meant everything to us. […] I've had a good understanding of where I wanted Guns n' Roses to go and the things I wanted Guns n' Roses to achieve musically, and I can't say that everybody's had a grip on that. We're competing with rock legends, and we're trying to do the best we can to possibly be honored with a position like that. […] We want to define ourselves. Appetite was our cornerstone, a place to start. That was like 'Here's our land, and we just put a stake in the ground. Now we're going to build something.

And it was because of this dramatic affect that success had on everybody's personal psychic, you know. I managed to get over my situation just because I wanted to keep playing. Axl, I think, was the only one that wasn't strung out during this whole period. He was having more personal, emotional problems. And Duff had his… We all had these different things. But it kept up from getting any work done. So finally we booked the Rolling Stones gigs and that sort of got us back together. Despite the rumors of us fighting and all that. We came to realize that we really are focused on what we're doing and that's why we're managing to stick it out this long.


In September 1991 Slash would talk about the long process of making the albums and how difficulties in their lives (drugs, coping with fame, shit from the press) had influenced how their song-writing:

Looking back on it it was [a creative period], but at the time it didn't feel like it. A lot of really heavy material came out of it but at the same time when we were going through it, it wasn't anywhere near as cool as it is now to look back on and see what we achieved by going through it.


Looking back at the production process, Izzy would claim they rehearsed and recorded the albums three times [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

In 1994, Slash would again talk about the process:

Me and Clink [Mike] were saying, 'When this is all over, we'll sit back and have a beer and laugh about it', but we haven't laughed about it yet! It really was crazy.


And in 1995, when the relationship between Slash and Axl had become sour:

We did 36 songs in 36 days, and it took a year and a half for the vocals.


Slash would also blame the press and people pestering them for the long process:

Yeah, that and we didn't like the way the band was perceived by the press or the way that they used us as the example of rock'n`roll excess of the '90s. There were people always s pointing their fingers at us and making rumours and stories. And we just got sick of all that and said 'fuck everybody' because that wasn't what we got into it for. So we just didn't care and didn't talk to anybody and if we did basically it was like 'fuck you.'

You know, the biggest thing is that we work so hard at playing and yet everybody spends so much time trying to pull out so much negative stuff about us and drugs and sex and bad relationships and the guys in the band and stuff, and it makes it hard for us just to concentrate on playing. Which is one of the reasons why it took us so long to get the record together because, after awhile, the hype just got to be overwhelming, We'd lock ourselves away in the studio and it was great to be in that environment and just spend all your time playing. But even then it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard. […] Everybody just started to know where we were and every time we'd come out to the studio there'd be people waiting outside. it was like, 'C'mon, give us a break, you know, It's just a band. We're trying to make a record.'


As for dealing with the high expectations and whether that had been challenging:

Yeah, because you don't feel like it should be that big a fucking deal. All things considered, its just a rock'n'roll band and its just a fucking record, and it means a lot to you personally because you made it but at the same time it's hard to accept the fact that it means a lot to ten million people. We tried to just completely ignore what was going on around us and just got involved with making the record regardless of whether anybody likes it or not.


About a year after their release, Izzy and Slash would look back at the records:

It was crazy. The last record we did was two records. There were too many songs for me to remember really. I had a hard time with 'Coma', it wasn't so much my style. Those albums I found very frustrating. I think there's some good songs on there, but the process was extremely, extremely slow. Again, that's the way Axl wants to do things. […] I like to get the stuff done and carry on. If you start picking everything apart, analysing, it's pointless, a downward spiral - and next thing you know, months have gone by, or a year. It took us a long time to get those records out, I don't even remember how long.

[…] that last record, the Illusions records, were just so many songs. I could probably remember ten of them that were on there. There’s a lot of music and it was no cohesive, sort of. Nothing really held it together.

That record, for me, had it been my way in a perfect world, I would have done it as a lot shorter and a lot more to the point sort of record.

Use Your Illusion is also very ironic for us. I mean, I don't know why but this band has just generated bullshit hype for so long that it's like just throwing it back in their faces. And d'you know what? The album is so controversial. It's the same and worse than the last one. The subject matter deals with drug stuff. And uh, I don't think we cut any corners as far as profanity goes. It deals with bad relationships and all that kind of crap. […] Y'know I detect a little bit of anti-feminism shit going on too, because the songs are about women who are negative and really fucking hard. I can see girls going 'What assholes!' But then, y'know our angle is just, 'This is true you fucking cunt'. This is the way it was and we put it down on paper. But you know, these feminist groups will be like... d'you know what I'm saying? People assume we're advocating what the songs say, and they go for the throat. We're not trying to get some truth tho. We're not trying to send out any fucking messages. This is just our experiences. It's us, put it on vinyl. Buy it or don't buy it, like it or don't like it, whatever. […] Look, I don't know how influential people think we are supposed to be. I mean like, we're an example now because we're a big band? No. No, no, no, no. I appreciate the fact that we're a big band and I know it's because all these people can relate to us. But there's all of these outside fucking people that are just like, 'Okay, well you influence a lot of young kids and you have a high profile'. All right so they think that's gonna have an effect on our musical integrity? Like, we're gonna fucking alter everything we do so we don't make any waves? No! Guns is all against that. "Some people seriously want to nail us, y'know? This band is a magnet for it. It's always been like that. Ever since before we got signed, so we just deal with it... sometimes too much shit gets hard to take though, y'know.


Izzy would later complain about his guitar being mixed down:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone!

On the last record I wasn't around for the mixes, and when they finished them you really don't hear my guitar at all. It was just a big Les Paul through a Marshall sound on most of the songs. Live, it got to the point where I didn't even know if the audience could hear my guitar. I was playing, and my amp was on about 8 or 9 to keep up with everybody else. We were a really loud band; so loud you can t imagine--even at rehearsals.


Izzy would later describe the process of making music together:

In Guns N' Roses, I would come up with an idea for a song [starts playing simple chords] and the first thing that would always happen was Slash getting hold of it and going chunka-chunka-chunka! I'd be going, OK, it's already changed a little bit. Then Axl would come in and go, 'We've gotta dd more lyris, we've gotta have more vocals, more back-ups, let's layer this'. So by the time it was finished it was like, holy shit! What a monster!


And about recording the albums:

When I think back to the last albums I recorded with Guns, Use Your Illusion I and II, pfff… we stayed locked in the studio for an eternity. That eventually got me completely fed up. For me, recording an album is a simple process. I write the tracks and then go into the studio where we play them without asking too many questions, and that’s it.


And Slash would state that Izzy hadn't played very much, and that Slash had covered for him:

I had to double guitars up for him on most of it. He didn't play very much.


Slash would later talk about how the recording process it had been:

But I couldn't go through that last record again. I mean, I've got a lot of stamina, but those last records and that entire tour, it was such an endurance thing.

The Use Your Illusion records, if you really knew, if anybody knew the whole story of what we were going through, they’d realize how important those records are to us and why they took so long — but you had to be there. When you read the lyrics, it starts to come out. It was a real period of turmoil. […] I mean, we had every reason to split up before those albums turned out as far as the obstacles we had to face. So as far as being able to pull off that tour and Izzy leaving in the middle of it and this, that and the other thing […].

[Talking about recording the rhythm guitars]: Well most of them, yeah. Izzy didn't play a helluva lot on that album. He was getting away from Guns altogether. It's cool but there's so much stuff that was goin' on; if I hear it now I hear it the way somebody who was involved hears it. But at the same time, the general attack is not as aggressive as I would have liked it. It's a little over-produced but, God, we went through hell making that record! We had band member changes, we didn't have the right mixers (what no coke for yer JD? – Cocktail Ed), we were on tour in the middle of making it and we were going in different studios. It was just a mess, so if you were me, it was an achievement beyond belief. For the average kid it might seem really self-indulgent stuff, but it's all very real, there's no bullshit, it's not like we were trying to do a record to reach a certain market. We just took all our material and just recorded it.

There are some songs we used to do in the really old days – like, before the band was signed – that sound better on the demos than they do on Use Your Illusion. There's 'Back Off Bitch', 'The Garden' and '14 Years'. Because we did the songs (for the album) all at the same time, they didn't have the emotional nuances from the different periods of time when they were written. When we all had to do it together, it all sort of sounds the same; it doesn't have the dynamics.

Anything but doing ‘Use Your Illusion’ again! As much as I love Guns N’ Roses, and as close as we all are - we’re like family - but after two-and-a-half, well f**k ... Two band member changes, four years in the making of the f**kin records, then two-and-a-half years of touring it’s like, I gotta get away from it before I do snap.

As much as I love [‘Use Your Illusion’] and all the material that is on there, there was just a little too much thinking going on.

I don't want to go through that whole 'Illusions' thing again. That was a nightmare. All of a sudden, Guns went from being the complete scumbag level garage band, to being a headlining stadium band. We just had a hard time adjusting to celebrity status, or some crap like that.

Izzy was phasing himself out as we were doing it. and we were doing a lot of his material on top of it. It was very bizarre. And then going out and headlining these fuckin' stadiums and so on for two and a half years. It was definitely a stretch of the imagination. I'd like to just do a fuckin' rock 'n' roll record.

The fact that we completed those albums is unbelievable. You might be able to go to a store and buy it and listen to it, but you'll never be able to understand the emotional turmoil that was going on from adjusting from being some piece-of-shit club band to all of a sudden being like, quote, "The biggest band in the world" and having that attention thrown at you, and having the pressures that go along with it and all this ridiculous stuff.

For some reason the complications of putting those records together were endless. We were getting the band out of a major drug haze, and getting it back together so it was a band. Plus, we were dealing with success, which affected everybody in different ways. For me it was a harsh reality to have my private life ripped open and in the spotlight all the time. But we got through that. We got through losing Steven. That was all mind-blowing. Looking back on it, I can't believe that we actually accomplished it.

It was impossible to get us into one room, all of us, at one time.

It was very dark and there was a lot of just toxic sort of a feeling in the room, and sightings of Axl Rose were few and far between.

Use Your Illusions was all over the place. It was sort of like the Guns N’ Roses version of The White Album, so to speak, maybe not quite as good. It was, like, all this material coming from all different directions.


In May 1995, Slash would compare the solos on 'Appetite' and 'Use Your Illusions':

When we did Appetite, we had rehearsed those songs and played them live for so long that it was easy to reproduce them. I didn't have to write a whole bunch of new stuff when we went into the studio because we had played all that stuff live. But when we did Use Your Illusion I pretty much improvised, except I wrote solos for "Estranged" and "November Rain" because they're ballads, and they needed it.


Late in 1995, Slash would say the records weren't what he had wanted, but rather Axl's idea:

The Use Your Illusion's is the result of conquering what Kurt Cobain couldn't. We lost Steven - Steven's not come back since. Izzy got back into it [after drug use] and realised that's not what he wanted to be; he wanted to be back with the old days. I got back into it and realised I didn't wanna go where Axl was going, but went anyway because I like to play, and we're a band and I'm part of the family, and I'll do whatever I can.

That's what "Use Your Illusion" was all about, which is why that is, to us personally, such a special record. Granted there was too much material, there's too much production, there's this, that and the other, but it's a result of something that most people will never see into, which is a bunch of guys going through a really fucking ridiculously self-indulgent period of trying to get the band back together as a result of being successful.

Well I work with the band; I don't work with Axl when we record. I work with the band and we just jam the stuff live, and Axl goes in and spends... Well last time it was a year in the studio, just adding and adding. I don't necessarily agree with that, but Axl's so talented he can go in and whip it out like that. But everything has to be perfect. Sometimes some of his ideas - like a harmony or something - I can go along with, but all the additional stuff...

"Use Your Illusion" sounded amazing when it was just the basic tracks. It was fucking great. But then by the time all the tracks were done it was like impossible to fucking mix it, and it came out sounding... The more stuff you put on tape, the less "big" it sounds. I tried to tell Axl that but he wouldn't listen. But I'm not gonna do it that way this time, and that's what we have to talk about.

I have the rough mixes, which are more or less the basic tracks and the basic overdubs - very simplified and try - and those fucking rock! You could come over to my house and I'll play you "Use Your Illusion" before it went into the mixing stage, and you'd be like, "Fucking what?!" It's very brash. But this is before synthesizers and all this outside stuff got involved.

I really try to understand where Axl's coming from when he gets into that. It's a self-expression that, because our personalities are so different, I can't fucking understand. And he probably can't understand why I want to keep everything so natural. But it's just because I know the band - on a players' level or an emotional level or an expression level - is fine when it's naked on its own. When we play live, it's right there, y'know? That's as good as you're gonna be, no matter what you put on it.

Axl brought a lot of different instruments and it sort of mellowed out what I would consider to be a great GN’R record.

The basic tracks for the ‘...Illusion’ albums -I have the original tapes, they’re just raw. You’d have loved them! I think they had a lot more impact than how they came out on the record, all glossed-over.

A lot of time went by after the basics for that album were done. The stuff was very stripped-down, and then a year later we were using up 72 tracks - 24 tracks of band and 48 tracks of something else all together! That’s why we ended up with all that Las Vegas crap going on the road, so we were able to reproduce songs like 'Live And Let Die’ and ‘November Rain’.

That’s Axl's choice.


But in 2000 Slash would speak more positively about the records, or at least the ordeal of successfully making them:

‘Use Your Illusion’ was actually one of the most personal fucking achievements that anybody - and I can speak on behalf of everybody in the band - made. The material on there is so close to home, and it was such a hard couple of records to make. It was the whole growing up period in his particular business, fucking going from being some little garage band to being this stadium act and all the shit that went along with it. I thought those two records were a fucking achievement that is unparalleled (laughs). But you can't expect everybody to understand that, because you'd have to live it.


Being asked which of his records he is the least proud of:

When I listen to Use Your Illusion I and II, I find that the production is not the best. There are so many songs on there that would benefit from being remixed... We had started to lose our minds at that time.

I think they are amazing records, and it was an honor to perform in such records like those, because of the very different styles those songs covered. I like to have been part of that.


Axl would also look back at the albums and indicate, like Slash, that the albums didn't come out the way he had wanted but due to having to compromise:

For me, when I hear certain things on the "Use Your Illusion" tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about.

People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on "Use Your Illusion," but most people do tend to lean towards "Appetite" as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together.

I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns and externally in the press, those albums suffered as a consequence, it's not something I'm too excited to have to live with again.

"Use Your Illusion" is...(sigh) basically Slash wanting to take over the band, Izzy being in his drug world, and the only way that we were able to even survive as a band was to make this double thing you know, like Slash's solo record, Izzy's solo record, and then I wrote stuff, but I mean, I had the phone calls of calling these guys going: "I'm not doing yours, if you don't do his!", and then calling Izzy and saying: "I'm not doing yours, if you don't do his! And I'm not doing either of yours, unless we do mine, and we'll do mine last!" But, it was that kinda fight for years. You know...


Axl would later follow up with his claims that Slash was attempting to take over the band at the time and that Izzy was inaccessible:

The group shot of the band in front of the piece 'Dead' was not a coincidence but not something I felt could be talked about openly, and something I hoped would change. I couldn't reach Izzy [Stradlin] and couldn't manage or curtail Slash and his personal objectives to take over Guns anymore than I did at the time, and I'm lucky to have survived, got what we did out of it and some still enjoyed the results. But for all intents and purposes, the 'Appetite [for Destruction]' lineup and approach was already dead, and with the addition of Matt [Sorum], the end of the then-lineup and what Guns was really about was only a matter of time. Only heartfelt choices by the others could or would change that. Unfortunately, nothing did.


And:

I'm generally blamed for the time it took to release 'Illusions,' but again the reality of my fault would be in not finding a way to manage Slash complete with his addictions and bring both him and Izzy together either similar to 'Appetite' or in some other progression more conducive to Guns than how 'Illusions' was accomplished. Unfortunately, that never truly happened, and both Guns and the public suffered for it. I'll take the responsibility in the sense that had I known how to achieve those goals we would have made what I feel would've been a more effective and powerful album at the time.

See? There's the catch, right? All this time, most thought I changed the direction with 'Illusions.' A lot of nonsense theories, speculation and complete nonrealities put together by others, based on Slash and others' crap and off one interview taken out of context I did with Kurt Loder where I said I hated 'Appetite.' That sentence has been used and twisted in every conceivable way since to vilify me and purports to prove my guilt and responsibility, when I wasn't speaking to the music itself but the overwhelming and at that time seemingly drowning success of our record.

My statement was in specific response to the feelings I had listening to DJs at the L.A. hard rock station KNAC at the time complaining about having to play the entire record for the umpteenth time for fans. I simply wanted to make another record and have it be as good or better. If you don't think I would've liked to have five 'Appetites' and been living like the Stones at the time, you're high. With that, any other avenue I hoped to pursue musically would more than likely been available as well. This was something I could never get through to the others with. Personal need to dominate in Guns was very important to them. Izzy has to be in charge or he's not comfortable, same with Slash. Duff [McKagan] tries convincing himself he's equal partners with Slash. Each to their own.


Skip Saylor, the owner of the studio where they recorded Use Your Illusions would also comment on why it took so long:

Well, I don’t think it’s new news that there was a lot of push and pull within Guns N’ Roses. With everybody having very defined ideas of what they wanted – you know, from the record and from the band – not necessarily always agreeing with each other, but certainly everybody had an idea of what they wanted it to be. There was a certain amount of Axl coming in and being happy with the mix and then Slash coming in and going, “No, that’s not what I’m looking for” and making a few changes, and then Axl would come in and say, “Well, this is better but this isn’t,” and going back and forth. Anytime you’re working with a band that big, it’s gonna take some time to mix a record, no matter what the circumstances are. I mean in this case, you know, Axl had to approve it, Slash had to approve it, Tom had to approve it and the manager had to approve it – and probably David Geffen had to approve it. So you get five different opinions and it’s gonna take five times longer than if one person is approving it. And it was such a huge important record that they wanted it to be perfect.


And Marc Canter would discuss how the making of the albums differed from the making of Appetite for Destruction:

The Use Your Illusion albums were a big change from Appetite For Destruction. The songs were put together a lot different. The guys no longer were living together and some of them had studios in their homes. Sometimes a song would be brought to the band already recorded and then lyrics would later be written. Also Slash was able to put some magic to songs that Axl came up this time like “November Rain” and “Estranged.” Now they had some money in their pockets and had a nice place to live,so the tension from living on the streets was gone. They were 5 years older. The songs for Appetite were put together in 1985. When Izzy left I knew there were going to be some problems in the way that the band was going to write songs. Izzy was a great song starter.


Duff would discuss the albums in 2008:

You know, some people might say, “Well, Use Your Illusions was…”  I've heard, you know, people say there's filler on there, or that it was disjointed, or what have you. But I think that just proves - on Use Your Illusions it proves one point, in that none of us would stop another one's idea. [...] If you had an idea, we would play it to its fruition. We would see it through and we would back you at.


In 2009, Axl would discuss the drums on the record:

With 'Illusions' several years ago, something came on the radio and I realized how the energy in the drums, though solid and consistent, brought me down in a way I feel damaged the material in the long run, if not from the get-go. Maybe it's there with some, most or all of us in ways, but I specifically notice it more with the drums. And when listening in that sense of analyzing how something feels to me in regards to its involvement or inclusion in the song, whether anyone disagrees I'm somewhat capable of removing myself and events from the picture.

For me it's more about certain energies and feel, and I'm not into what we did there for a good bit in regard to the drum work. To actually have a drummer that could play at the time, though, was a bit too overwhelming.


While Steven would insist the albums would have been much better if he had been on the drums:

It was the biggest drag of my life (getting kicked out of G’N’R). I did write and record the demo tapes for Use Your Illusion. I’ll never forget telling everybody I knew, ‘this was going to be even bigger than Appetite’ and it would have been… if it had been recorded the way Appetite was; the way it was supposed to be - with five guys. It would be even bigger! It was supposed to happen.

Yeah, I know that [=Matt Sorum could never fill those shoes]. And all the other guys know that. It’s just Axl doesn’t want to admit it. That’s why the songs work—because of all five of us. Use Your Illusion would have been bigger than Appetite [For Destruction] if it was recorded the way the demo tapes sounded. But every record they did with less members sold less and less.

I did write and record the demo tapes for Use Your Illusion. I’ll never forget telling everybody I knew, ‘this was going to be even bigger than Appetite’ and it would have been… if it had been recorded the way Appetite was; the way it was supposed to be - with five guys. It would be even bigger! It was supposed to happen.

The day it happened with GNR and they kicked me out of the band, the whole chemistry changed. It didn’t get better. There are bands like Iron Maiden where Bruce Dickinson came in the band, he took over somebody’s spot, and the band got better but it’s so rare. Like with Chip Z’Nuff, my bass player in Adler’s Appetite? I know what he’s gonna do before he’s gonna do it; and he knows what I’m gonna do before I’m gonna do it. And that’s what you want. That’s how you get close.

[...]

It was very, very destructive when they kicked me out of the band but then they recorded all those songs. See, I did all the songs for Use Your Illusion; I recorded them on a demo tape in a recording studio with the band.

[...]

I loved “Back Off Bitch,” I loved that song. I’m so pissed when I heard it. Oh, my god. That and “Don’t Cry.” I came up with the most simple, most beautiful drums. That was what was devastating: those were my songs. Goddamit. And it still bothers me. I think I need to go to a meeting [laughs.] I have to go to a meeting now. After talking to you, I’m gonna have to go to a goddamn AA meeting. Thanks a lot!

[...]

[Matt's] were just half-assed, crappy versions. Nothing personal against the guy but he’s like a goddamn drum machine. He’s got no heart; he’s got no soul; he’s got no feel. And as life and the years have shown obviously I’m not the easiest drummer to replace. All I know is, Use Your Illusion would have been bigger than Appetite.


For a Classic Rock article on the making of the Use Your Illusions, both Slash and Duff took a retrospective look:

You know, when I look back on it, it was a monumental achievement. The first thing I think of when I think of those albums is that it was such a whirlwind of shit was happening at that particular time, but it was a huge accomplishment. I think the Use Your Illusion records, if you know the backstory, were very victorious.

That record polarized people. I’ve come to understand that, and I’ve come to be at peace with the whole thing. I only figured this out a year ago. ‘When are you guys gonna get back together?’ Well, none of us guys have said we’re going to. I wonder if some people – not all – if some people think if we got back together, they’d get their teenage years back? Are they asking us to get back together so that they can get their youth back, even for a minute? The title of the record, it’s fuckin’ appropriate when you think about it…


Also in 2011:

I don't know which one I prefer. I haven't listened to the Use Your Illusion albums for so long, I don't even know what's on each. I know people like the blue one over the red one… Or maybe it's the other way around.


From 2012:

Axl wanted to create big rock. I think subconsciously he was thinking of the stadiums. He wanted to test the boundaries with songs like ‘November Rain’ and ‘Coma’, these epic numbers. [...] I was surprised with the piano and everything. I thought I was going to join this rock band and here we are coming up with something very different to what I was used to hearing. But I saw the diversity in Axl’s songwriting. [...] On that album I used the Rock Tour custom kit which was a medium-line Yamaha kit. They had these huge toms, they were like square sizes 12x12-inch, 13x13-inch, 14x14-inch - big, big toms. You can hear that on the album, the tom sounds are huge.

In those days there wasn’t a lot of time to work things out unless you did it in the studio because we cut to tape, there was no Pro-Tools. In retrospect I could have gone in there and played the most incredible drum tracks by making some edits. But I had to do it in one take. [...] You listen and that’s the band performing, those records are live takes from beginning to end. A performance was a performance. It wasn’t getting seven performances and making an edit. I’d do two or three takes usually. [...] We weren’t using click tracks. Everything was just, ‘lets do this.’ I think that’s a lost art form. There’s something to say why people gravitate towards those great old records - Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones. They sat around and played together. It’s not a chemistry project, it’s a rock’n’roll band.



MY WORLD


[…] there's one [song] I guess, you'd call it New Age music with synthesisers on it that Axel [sic] did which is pretty intense.
Rip It Up, September 1991

'My World' happened when we’re sitting and were bored. We’ve been working on "Live and Let Die" the whole night and it was early in the morning. I’d been listening to a lot of industrial music and all of a sudden I said, "Hey man, let's do something. Let's see what happens. Let's just make it short and sweet and see what we come up with." In three hours we wrote and recorded the song. (...) I'll expose a little more of myself - we were also on 'shrooms. A friend of mine had stuck some mushrooms in my tea and I didn't know it. All of a sudden we were being really mellow. So it was kind of a socio-psychotic state of bliss
Musician, June, 1992

You know the song My World on Use Your Illusion II? I want to do a whole project like that by myself and with whoever else might want to be on it. But right now it’s just me and a computer engineer. It’s just raw expression – just putting ideas together. We just go in, say “what do we want to do” and get to work. We completed My World in three hours. It’s something that I need to get out of my system, but it’s not something I want to base my career and future on.
Hit Parader, 1992

There was one song on that record that I didn't even know was on it until it came out, 'My World'. I gave it a listen and thought, 'What the fuck is this?'
Rolling Stones, October 29, 1992


Axl would later claim Slash had agreed to include the song because he expected Axl would be criticized for it:

Great question and here goes for all your inquisitive minds with a bit you aren’t aware of but is the real story…Unfinished 1st run 1st dabbling/experimenting all in fun demo that became Duff’s favorite song at the time telling me how he loved to blast it at his house with Ice T and the Bodycount guys before Illusions came out and before it was decided to be on the record. I wanted to try and develop it and wanted guitars of some kind but Slash felt and his words at the Record Plant in all seriousness were “It’s perfect” and Slash and Duff were the deciding factor to have it on the album. [...] Personally I feel Duff legitimately liked it but I can’t say Slash did in the same way. In fact I feel he was keenly aware some would take issue with the track and against me so for him in that sense it was “perfect”. Imo Duff wasn’t aware or part of that and was “used” unwittingly for support in talking me out of developing it or not including it which at the time I had no real intention of using as is.



ANY UNRELEASED MUSIC?


[Being asked if there were any tracks from the Illusion records that never saw the light of day]: When me, Slash, and Duff went to Chicago, we wrote 35 songs. Izzy wasn’t there, Axl...the only song that had some lyrics was November Rain, it was just a little bit done. But we had so many songs with just the music. It’s possible, but I never really listened to the Illusions albums to be sure...

Is there a lot of material? Um, no, I don't think so. I mean, there's probably outtakes and that kind of stuff in the studio that we have, but there's not any – I don’t think there's any unreleased material. We would release everything we recorded, you know?


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:29 pm

13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: DON'T DAMN ME
Album:
Use Your Illusion I, 1991, track no. 13.


Written by:
Slash, Dave Lank and Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
Organ: Dizzy
Vocals: Axl

Live performances:
'Don't Damn Me' has never been performed live.
Lyrics:

Don't damn me
When I speak a piece of my mind
'Cause silence isn't golden
When I'm holding it inside
'Cause I've been where I have been
An I've seen what I have seen
I put the pen to the paper
'Cause it's all a part of me

Be it a song or casual conversation
To hold my tongue speaks
Of quiet reservations
Your words once heard
They can place you in a faction
My words may disturb
But at least there's a reaction

Sometimes I wanna kill
Sometimes I wanna die
Sometimes I wanna destroy
Sometimes I wanna cry
Sometimes I could get even
Sometimes I could give up
Sometimes I could give
Sometimes I never give a fuck

It's only for a while
I hope you understand
I never wanted this to happen
Didn't want to be a man
So I hid inside my world
I took what I could find
I cried when I was lonely
I fell down when I was blind

But don't damn me
When I speak a piece of my mind
'Cause silence isn't golden
When I'm holding it inside
'Cause I've been where I have been
An I've seen what I have seen
I put the pen to the paper
'Cause it's all a part of me

How can I ever satisfy you
An how can I ever make you see
That deep inside we're all somebody
An it don't matter who you wanna be
But now I gotta smile I hope you comprehend
For this man can say it happened
'Cause this child has been condemned
So I stepped into your world
I kicked you in the mind
An I'm the only witness
To the nature of my crime
But look at what we've done
To the innocent and young
Whoa listen to who's talking
'Cause we're not the only ones
The trash collected by the eyes
And dumped into the brain
Said it tears into our conscious thoughts
You tell me who's to blame

I know you don't wanna hear me cryin'
An I know you don't wanna hear me deny
That your satisfaction lies in your illusion
But your delusions are yours and not mine
We take for granted we know the whole story
We judge a book by its cover
And read what we want
Between selected lines

Don't hail me
An don't idolize the ink
Or I've failed in my attentions
Can you find the missing link
Your only validation is living your own life
Vicarious existence is a fucking waste of time

So I send this song to the offended
I said what I meant and I've never pretended
As so many others do intending just to please
If I damned your point of view
Could you turn the other cheek

But don't damn me
When I speak a piece of my mind
'Cause silence isn't golden
When I'm holding it inside
'Cause I've been where I have been
An I've seen what I have seen
I put the pen to the paper
'Cause it's all a part of me
       
Don't damn me
I said don't damn me
I said don't hail me
Don't damn me


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

[Explaining the meaning behind the lyrics "Don’t hail me and don’t idolize the ink or I fail my intentions"]: It just means, you know, it’s trying to show people to realize their own personal power and their own abilities rather than going, you know, “Axl Rose is God and that’s great”. It’s like, “Whoa, don’t say I’m God”. It’s like, you know, just get your own thing together. And that’s where I say “if I fail in my intentions”. If a person is just idolizing me and not working in their own life, then we fail with things we’re trying to express in that song.
Rockline, November 27, 1991

I love that song. That's one of those songs I introduced to the band that was already complete.
Guitar, April 1992

[Talking about playing it live with The Conspirators]: No, you see, there's a reason for that, there's too many words. It's a cool song and everything but I think even Axl, we never did it because there's too many words without a breath and it just makes it really impossible to do it live.
Slashfrance.net, June, 2014



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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:30 pm

13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: GET IN THE RING
Album:
Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 5.


Written by:
Slash, Duff McKagan and Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
Piano: Dizzy
Vocals: Axl
Background Vocals: Duff

Live performances:
'Get In The Ring' has never been performed live.
Lyrics:

Why do you look at me when you hate me
Why should I look at you when you make me hate you too
I sense a smell of retribution in the air
I don't even understand why the fuck you even care
       
And I don't need your jealousy yeah
Why drag me down in your misery

And when you stare don't you think I feel it
But I'm gonna deal it back to you in spades
When I'm havin' fun ya know I can't conceal it
'Cause I know you'd never cut it in my game
       
Oh no
And when you're talkin' about a vasectomy
Yeah
I'll be writin' down your obituary
History

You got your bitches with the silicone injections
Crystal meth and yeast infections
Bleached blond hair, collagen lip projections
Who are you to criticize my intentions
Got your subtle manipulative devices
Just like you I got my vices
I got a thought that would be nice
I'd like to crush your head tight in my vice
Pain!!

And that goes for all you punks in the press
That want to start shit by printin' lies
Instead of the things we said
That means you
Andy Secher at Hit Parader
Circus Magazine
Mick Wall at Kerrang
Bob Guccione Jr. at Spin,
What you pissed off cuz your dad gets more pussy than you?
Fuck you
Suck my fuckin' dick
You be rippin' off the fuckin' kids
While they be payin' their hard earned money to read about the bands
They want to know about
Printin' lies startin' controversy
You wanta antagonize me
Antagonize me motherfucker
Get in the ring motherfucker
And I'll kick your bitchy little ass
Punk!

I don't like you, I just hate you
I gonna kick your ass, oh yeah! oh yeah!
You may not like our integrity yeah
We built a world out of anarchy oh yeah!

And in this corner weighin in at 850 pounds,
Guns N' Roses
Get in the ring
Yeah!

Yeah this song is dedicated to All the Guns n' fuckin' Roses fans
Who stuck with us through all the
Fucking shit
And to all those opposed...
Hmm...well


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Talking about writing the song:

And Duff’s brought in one song - Duff said it all in one song- it’s called ‘Why do you look at me when you hate me?’ and it’s just bad-assed.
Stick To Your Guns by Mick Wall; Kerrang, 21st and 28th of April 1990

We did get some work done [in Chicago in the summer of 1990]. We finished 'Civil War' and wrote 'Get In The Ring' and 'Pretty Tied Up,' to name a few.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151

We have a song called ‘Why do You Look At Me When You Hate Me', which is basically about critics. Like, we were on tour and we’d read the local paper the next day, and you'd read about the show and it would say that we sucked. And then it would say what songs we played, and obviously the guy wasn’t even there at the show! Or if he was, it was obvious in the review or the interview that the guy didn’t like us to begin with. They should have gotten another journalist from the newspaper or the magazine or whatever to do it.
Kerrang! August 3, 1991

They would walk in with a biased opinion, so they were set to rip us up anyway. […] Some of the scenarios that go down with some of the people that write about us... I mean, they make it up,” says Slash. “There’s some interviews out there that I think are still on the stands which are totally unfactual, unfounded.
Kerrang! August 3, 1991

'Get In The Ring' was a song that was… basically put together by Slash and Duff, and I came up with the low vocal part. And Slash and I wrote that part together. We wrote different verses. And we wrote a whole song that when the whole band actually had the song together, the words didn't fit the arrangement of the song. And so, we were in Toronto, playing a show in Toronto. And we had one last song to finish recording, that was 'Get In The Ring'. So, we went in the studio and just kind of started putting things together.
WNEW 102.7, September 1991

I just hated some of the music critics, the ones which were uninformed. When they just listened to classical music and didn't know about rock and then they criticised it. So I wrote a song, you know that ‘Get In The Ring’ song. For me, I’ve never been a pop single writer, you know about a boy and a girl that meet up and then suck dick, I’m not like that, I’m just able to write songs so that I can exorcise immediately. I just write songs as my therapy.
Clash Music, November 2009


Talking about the rant against named media individuals:

And then Duff decided that I should express my feelings about how we've been treated by the press, because that was his initial concept for the song, and that I should just go for it. And I was kind of like: "Are you sure? You sure I should do this?". And then Tom Zutaut, of Geffen, was there and he was like: "Go for it." So I got behind the mike and went for it. And everybody was really happy and we just decided to do it. And this naming names, and things like that, were because most bands can't afford to express how they feel about how they're treated in the press, because they need the press so much. And I know that this could hurt us, but we're in a position where I think we owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to an element of the public....
WNEW 102.7, September 1991

Axl's real critical of himself, and his anger seems to propel him in a lot of ways. That song 'Get I The Ring', I really love a lot of the lyrics just cos they're really aggressive. Axl played guitar on that track as well, that was the first time I saw him play electric guitar, and he did pretty well. I was digging it cos it was a god punk energy. But with all the names at the end I was thinking, shit! I wouldn't have slagged people off on my record.
Kerrang!, September 1992

You know what, I wrote part of that song. The title was "Why do you look at me when you hate me", and it was about the press writing shit about us. Well, why do you write about us if you actually hate us? I could give you the names of those that hated us. Why didn't the press hire another people to write about us, instead of bashing us? Why did they have to write about us? I was very idealistic and I thought the world had changed. You need a lot of negative energy within to write so much about someone you actually hate. [...] Then Axl took it very personal. He thought it a good idea. But definitely, if there's some filthy people that need to be treated like filth, who cares? Fuck 'em!
Popular 1, July 2000

That was not my idea, you know, that was Tom Zutaut and Duff McKagan's idea. Because there was this blank space in the song, and I was 'We've gotta do something,' and they were like 'Why don't you just go in and go off on Andy Secher and Bob Guccione Jr?' and 'Sure, yeah, yeah' and eventually I did and everybody was happy with it. But when it hit the fan everybody disappeared. And I was naive and didn't realize the political wars going on between the different publicists at the record labels and their relationships with The Rolling Stone and Spin, and whatever, so I was set up but no one stepped forward to say anything.
That Metal Show with Eddie Trunk, November 2011




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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:30 pm

13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: SHOTGUN BLUES
Album:
Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 6.


Written by:
Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Vocals, Rhythm Guitar: Axl
Background Vocals: Izzy, Duff

Live performances:
'Shotgun Blues' has never been performed live.
Lyrics:

I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I said I don't know what I did
But I know I gotta move
I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I can't wait here forever
I got too much here to lose

An now you're blowin' smoke
I think you're one big joke
Me...I gotta lot to learn
An I'm still waitin' for the heads to turn
You say I walk a line
Fuck they move it every time
You walk a mile in my shoes
And then you tell me 'bout singin' the blues
You get what you pay for
An freedom's real high priced
An while your rippin' off children
Somebody's fuckin' your wife
It's never made a difference
It's only how you survive

I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I said I don't know what I did
But I know I gotta move
I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I can't wait here forever
I got too much here to lose
       
And now you ask me why
I said it's do or die
I'll stick it right in your face
And then I'll put you
In your motherfuckin' place
And you...you can suck my ass
An I think it's so low class
Me...I'm just so concerned
I'm still waitin' for your ass to burn
       
Ooooh you want a confrontation
I'll give you every fuckin' chance
With your verbal masturbation
Me...I just like to dance
How's that for provocation
I'm just makin' a stance

An I'm tired of the frustration
Of livin' inside of your lies
And I'm wired on indignation
I said somebody's got to die

I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I said I don't know what I did
But I know I gotta move
I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
I can't wait here forever
I got too much here to lose
       
I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
Listen motherfucker
You're about to pay your dues
I got the shotgun blues
Shotgun blues
If you're goin' up against me
Then you know you're gonna lose
       
I know
I know (there's ways - that we - can find)
I know
I know
You think anyone with an I.Q. over fifteen
Would believe your shit...fuckhead
Nothin' but a fuckin' pussy


Quotes regarding the song and its making:



We wrote that song about eight years ago, so I don't make any excuses for it — it’s what we were back then.
The Age, January 29, 1993

I like 'Shotgun Blues.' It’s just a killer punk rock song.
bullz-eye-com, April 2009


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:31 pm

'WITHOUT YOU'
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE VIDEO TRILOGY


Axl was interested in movies and films and with the music videos accompanying the singles for 'Don't Cry', 'November Rain' and 'Estranged', he attempted to realize his lofty aspirations for filmatic music videos. It would be said that Axl "wants to experiment with music, film and video, and produce clips that will no doubt redefine the genre for the MTV generation" [RIP Magazine, March 1992].

The three epic music videos were loosely based on Del James' novel 'Without You', which again was loosely based on Axl's life. The videos would be directed by Andy Morahan.


Axl and Del James


Talking about the novel 'Without You':

It was a fictional story that my friend Del wrote based off – you know, I inspired him to write this story, because we were a rock band and we were working on our first album - it wasn’t even out yet - and I was pretty much out of control and we were all into the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. And he wrote this story about this guy who just becomes bigger than life, and the troubles he has in his relationship and keeping that together; basically about this couple in this relationship, and trying to deal with this lifestyle, and what happens to them. And so, little by little, we think about it, figure out how the next part of the story and stuff – we talk about it and he’ll write a little bit more. And all of a sudden it was kind of like, we sold 8 million records, and all of a sudden I was becoming what he had written about. He called me really upset one day, going “I wrote my friend’s death.” It was like, we’re in that one video where I find my gravestone and stuff like that, and that really freaked him out and he’ll write two other stories. So it’s kind of like a fictional story which had autobiographical and based off things that happened in real life. And now it’s like, with Stephanie it’s a real trip because some things are based off my previous relationship, and some things are fictional, but I’m in relationship with her.

The 'Without You' story came about on a night where Axl called me, when he was still living with his girlfriend - who later on became his wife – Erin Everly, at about 4:00 in the morning and said, “Dude, you have to come over here.” […]  Essentially, the short story is about a rock star, who was inspired by Axl, who writes a song called “Without You” about the woman who he loves but he can’t really have. […] It was frightening to be around them. There was so much insanity, you know, that was brought upon by their love and their insecurities that had inspired me to write this short story called “Without You.” This is before Appetite for Destruction was released. […] I wrote the story after the night that I spent with Axl and kind of showed it to him, kind of uncomfortably – you know, “What do you think of this?” […] After I showed the short story to Axl, it kind of helped him finish the song Estranged, especially the verses that say the words “without you.” […] Although this character, whose name is Mane in the short story, has the rock ‘n’ roll world by the balls, the woman who he loves he can’t have. So his crown jewel, his song that everybody loves and respects, is also his damnation. The world might perceive a superstar having everything, all the luxuries; but it’s simple things like love and relationships that at times are the hardest to keep. […] Throughout his self-destruction, he finally builds up the courage to try to sing the song to his beloved who is in heaven, knowing that she can hear it if he can get through it. But, as any good story, it has a twist. Now he has to make a choice and, hopefully, the videos will resolve that answer. […] Anytime you face some celluloid on writing, it’s going to lose something. But also, on the flip side of this, there’s things I might necessarily not have written that people give me credit for. And it kind of makes me feel uncomfortable, you know? If someone sees the video, then reads my story and feels let down, I apologize. […]  The short story is included in my collection of short stories. It’s called “The Language of Fear Vol. 1” and it’s just a matter of time before that book comes out. And it’s horror. […] Before the Illusions came out, there was talk of actually developing Without You into full length feature movie. Due to logistics, that hasn’t been able to be a reality. So what has happened is that there’s, like, kind of a condensed version of the story in the visuals. Don’t Cry segues into November Rain, which hopefully, if there’s time, will be Estranged – you know, the third part of it, and it’ll all kind of make sense and we’ll tell this pretty heavy tale.

[Del James] started writing this story kind of based off my relationship and used that kind of for inspiration. […] A relationship of a singer and a woman, and a huge rock band. […] One of the things about the story is that it was about this band that gets huge. And all of a sudden it dawned on me, and I just said, how could we ever really imitate that of afford to do it; you know, why don’t we just use our band.

Del’s is also the guy who called me and said, “I just wrote my best friend’s death.” For me, the short story “Without You” helped me focus on what could happen in my life and sometimes what was happening. Although Del was being inspired by situations that were going on in my life, it was his way of helping me acknowledge and deal with a painful situation. It stopped me at different times from going too far. When people are looking for their own identity and things aren’t going well, they’ll settle for being the bad guy or the loser and create an identity that way.

Although the story “Without You” was written before our first album, (’87), the video for the song “November Rain” (’92) where you see Del’s name at the end of it is just a piece of “Without You.” Things that were predicted in the story actually happened in my life. The goals set before GN’R’s first album came out were to get to the levels of success described in “Without You.” It’s the ultimate rock ’n’ roll/self-destructive fantasy.

In the story, Mayne Mann writes a song called “Without You,” and around this time I started writing “Estranged.” I remember calling Del after finishing “Estranged” and going “I wrote that song,” meaning a song that means so much to me, the way “Without You” does to Mayne. I also would end up being haunted by that song as Mayne is. I think it’s amazing that the female character, Elizabeth, is the good character, and yet she gets the last word in (don’t worry—I won’t give it away) by doing something knowing it’ll severely fuck Mayne up. I think there was some spite in there, and there’s a lot of self-blame in the story on the part of the rocker. Everything is Mayne’s fault and he flips out, which is something that I can relate to. There’s a lot of personal pain on Mayne’s behalf regarding why can’t he get a certain love to work.

For years, we’ve been thinking about making either videos or a full-length movie based on “Without You,” and that kept me focused on not wanting to become the character, Mayne, although I basically was that person. There were things involved in the character that had a lot of elements of Del as well as a lot of elements of me. “November Rain” is actually the set up for the short story rather than for the “Estranged” video. We were going to try to bring out more of the “Without You” story and elements in “Estranged,” but Stephanie Seymour had other plans so we had to change ours. The story actually helped me for a long time, and I would have loved to have filmed it, but right now it’s better for me to evolve and transcend the close similarity to my life and let the story live its own life.
Del James, Foreword to "Language of Fear", 1995

Anyway, Axl wrote "Sweet Child O' Mine" about [Erin Everly] and we all had a sense that GN'R were going to be special. I also was afraid that Erin might be able to manipulate or push Axl over the edge to where he really hurts himself. But I didn't have the verbal skills to tell him how I felt or of my concerns. Guys have a hard time telling other guys that they are worried about them or that they love them so I wrote a short story called "Without You." It was a thinly veiled prediction about a rock star who writes a beautiful song about the woman he loves and is haunted by the success of that tune to the point that it destroys him. I wrote the story, gave it to him, and he got the message. Years later, we were entertaining the notion of making a full length rock-n-roll movie based off the story and three videos -- "Don't Cry", "November Rain," and "Estranged" -- would be parts of the film. Axl gave me a shout out at the end of "November Rain" that I am eternally grateful for because that's what helped me get my book deal for The Language Of Fear.


Talking about creating the music video scripts:

Andy [Morahan] puts up with more shit and handles this organization of Guns N’ Roses, all the time changes and schedules and stuff so easily. He’s just so into the project. That’s just been great. I mean, we write together really well and really fast, and got the ideas out and go, “Boom, that’s it.” And if we have to change it last minute, we just do it. […] Don’t Cry was Josh Richman and I working on it and then working with Andy. November Rain was more Andy and I working, and Andy just running with the ball putting everything together; and everything’s worked really, really well.



1995: RELEASING THE LANGUAGE OF FEAR


In early 1995, Del James would release "The Language of Fear", a collection of short stories including 'Without You'. Axl would write the foreword [Del James, "The Language of Fear", 1995].


The Language of Fear
by Del James


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:31 pm

SEPTEMBER 12 AND 20, 1991
'DON'T CRY', SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO


The second single from the 'Use Your Illusion' albums was 'Don't Cry', and it was released on September 12, 1991. The choice of Don't Cry had been an easy one, it was harder to choose the next singles although that was not due to a lack of candidates, as Geffen GM Al Coury would say:

When we’re listening to 30 songs it’s hard to say, ‘I hear four hits on this one or five hits on this one.’ ... [but] there are enough hits on these albums to carry them for the next two years.


The music video to Don't Cry accompanying the single was released on September 20 [Billboard, November 2, 1991] with footage being filmed as late as September 15 [Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1991].


THE CD ARTWORK


The cover of the CD for the single featured a painting by the artist Kirk Hughey, called Ascension, and it would also be used as a backdrop for the inside liner notes in the Use Your Illusions CDs [Santa Fe New Mexican, December 20, 1991].


The Don't Cry single
September 17, 1991


Hughey would explain how his 60-by 40-inch painting from 1988 came to be used when Axl and Stephanie came upon the painting at an art gallery in Sedoria, Arizona, June 1991:

Axl reportedly said, 'I dreamt this last night' when he saw my painting on the wall. He told the gallery owner he had to have it.

His business manager immediately sought me out to buy the painting and get the reproduction rights so that they could use it on the album. […]

It look a lot of negotiating between myself and Rose's business managers and lawyers. I feel that we made a pretty good deal. We took the high road and they negotiated down a little bit. I'm very happy with it.


Hughey would also praise Axl's appreciation of art:

I was surprised to learn that Axl Rose actually has quite a collection of fine art. If you look at all of the art work on their albums, they all come from Axl's personal collection.



AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR THE MUSIC VIDEO


Reportedly Axl had planned the schematics of the associated music video to 'Don't Cry' already back in May 1991 [RIP, September 1991]. But Geffen didn't want to finance more expensive videos:

After Axl fired Alan Niven, I walked into Eddie Rosenblatt’s office at Geffen Records and said, “We’re gonna make an expensive video.” And he said, “Doug, we’re out of the video business with you. You pay for your own videos, and then you’ll own the rights to them.”
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


Andy Morahan, who would be the director of the Don't Cry video, as well as the videos for November Rain and Estranged:

Two of Axl’s favorite artists were Elton John and George Michael. Which was bizarre. As a matter of fact, he hated most other rock bands. If you spoke to him about Van Halen or Nirvana, he’d be spitting feathers, but when it came time to talk about Elton John, he’d go all misty-eyed. One of his favorite videos was George Michael’s “Father Figure,” and he wanted to make some big, epic narrative-driven videos.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


If it works, you know, if it transfers to film right – I mean, each individual scene will, but it’s how the scenes flip together. It’s gonna be important. It took the motherfucker long enough time to write it (laughs).

If it works, it’s, like, the first step towards bigger type of projects, not necessarily meaning just for videos, but if we really want to film, you know, something feature-length, this is our first try at it. Because, I mean, there’s no, like, real rehearsals. It’s just, like, rehearsed one day, “Go!” (laughs).

For me it’s a (?), because I’ve never been in a full movie set or anything like that. This is really easy. I mean, they have a good concept of what we’re doing. Working with this kind of budget, we want to make sure we get it right. Andy [Morahan] is great. This shredded plastic, this is really fun to breath. We’re back to work.

[…] the video that we just did for 'Don’t Cry' fits even better with the new lyrics than the old one.



STEPHANIE PLAYS ERIN


In the videos Stephanie Seymour would play the role of Erin Everly in scenes depicting events in the relationship between Axl and Everly [MTV, September 9, 1992]:

It’s really strange, you know. It’s a bit difficult for her, but she gets into a part and understands what we’re doing. But sometimes it’s very surreal, like when we got married it was – I mean, Slash looked at me and said, 'Dude, I just watched you get married 9 times.'

With our video for "Don't Cry," and the fight that Stephanie and I had over the gun, you don't necessarily know what's going on. But in real life that happened with Erin and myself. I was going to shoot myself. We fought over the gun and I finally let her win. I was kind of mentally crippled after that. Before shooting our documentary, I said, "This seems really hard, 'cause it really happened." And the night we wrote the scene, my friend Josh said, "Okay, how are you going to play that?" He wanted to rehearse and I was like, "Look, leave me alone." But he kept pushing until, finally, I stood up. I had this cigarette lighter that looked like a real gun and I said, "Look, I'm gonna do it like this." And I just went over and slammed around in the hallway a bit and threw the gun and said, "Is that good enough for you?" And he said, "Yes!" 'Cause I knew what I was going to do and from that point on he knew that I would be able to play the parts that we were writing. But it was a very painful process doing that and it's even weird now to be involved in a relationship where the person I'm involved with is actually playing parts that are written about the two of us, about fictional characters, about things in my past relationships. It's a very touchy thing to do.



EXPLAINING THE MUSIC VIDEO


Talking about the drowning scene:

One of the hardest things I've ever done was to film the drowning scene in "Don't Cry." We had four guys in scuba-gear and we were in a swimming pool, camera and crew everywhere, bubble machines, and the camera comes swinging overhead and they would say, "Go!" And they'd pull out the floater and all of a sudden I'd have to go into drowning, and I'm drowning. Then I'd flash the peace sign and they'd come in and rescue me and pull me to the side of the pool, and after three takes I was done. I couldn't do it again because I was so exhausted. But, it was a real mind trip because that's how my life had felt for I don't know how many years, especially in my last relationship. I've always felt like I was drowning and being pulled down. Trying to save us both, being pulled down and everything. When I went back to my trailer all of a sudden, I broke down for a bit because I was experiencing that "Okay, now that's over, and you've expressed it, got it out of yourself." But the closeness to the reality, that was just a metaphoric scene of how I really felt. It was so close to how I really felt, it was really disturbing and hard to do, but by doing it, it helped and something for me and helped me heal and get over certain things.

Well, I mean, hopefully on film she’s supposed to look very peaceful. And it’s like, right after the fight seems, like, mellowed out, and I feel like I’m being drowned by this relationship, because this person has calmed down, the gunfight thing is over, and they’re completely calmed down, and I’m freaking out thinking, you know, this person’s at ease and I’m still drowning in this mess.


Talking about the scene with the demon:

You know, there’s a lot of things on the record and the past records that people call my “demon voice” or, like, that I’m going into certain moods and that’s the demon, so I kind of wanted to put that into an actual character and show it. And I feel like there’s a part of me. […] You know, everybody has their demons that they have to deal with, and most people don’t, and you have to face these things. […] There’s a song we have, Perfect Crime, which says “Keep the demons down.” And it’s like, most people do that, in one form or another they try to keep everything down and not understand why there are certain ways or why they feel certain ways. […] This was, like, a part of me and going to have to come back again. And it’s recognizing the light and, you know, at first it’s scared of it, and then, the second time, it just sighs away, “I like this, this feels good, this is warmth and I haven’t seen warmth in a long time. […] I kind of like this. I kind of like this a lot. I think this is the new me. “Don’t fuck with me,” “Don’t fuck with me.” That’s what I’d like to tell everyone in St. Louis: “I’m fuckin’ green, so don’t fuck with me.” Me and others like me will probably climb up through your intestines and keep the lining out of your stomachs.


Talking about the grave scene:

The reason it says 1990 [on the tomb stone] is because 1990 was, you know, a very suicidal year. Some things were really good, and then with the marriage not working and stuff like that. It just made me realize all kinds of things haven’t ever really worked, and I got to get through it and figure out why so many things continually go wrong.


Talking about the fight scene:

It’s gonna be a real bitch to do this, because the other scenes were a lot easier; with the makeup and everything it was a lot easier to get into the character. The fact that this situation, the scene is very close – you know, it’s somewhat of a dramatized reenactment of something that really happened. […] So it’s really hard emotionally to do it, and to put myself in that place and think about it, because I was really upset that day. The room here and stuff is nothing like where I lived, but it’s what we could get to do this. It looks cool, it’s fine; we’re making the best of it. We might as well not establish it with any of my stuff, because, it’s like, nothing in here is anything of my stuff, so it doesn’t really fucking matter. So when I first got here tonight, I saw it and I was just like, “This blows. I want the fuck out of here” (laughs). Every scene is getting completely different than what we sat down and talked about, so I’m loving it.


Talking about the hospital scene:

The scene we did the other night was originally written with Izzy in it, and he didn’t want to be here. So we had to improvise and we changed the way the room looked – anyway, that was something that came up. […] The characters that I was playing were much different, because it was originally written, like, just sitting in a hotel room kicking it, and then it would change to, like, being in a hospital – you know, kind of to represent a mental ward downstate and trying to work on things. And then, like, to me it’s there he walks, like that’s on stage and stuff, and he walks in. And that was supposed to be Izzy, and it wasn’t Izzy, so we had to come up with that, like, on the spot, and figure out what to do and how to make it all fit together.


One scene in the video shows a baby with differently colored eyes:

Well, the eyes, it was different babies, and it was meant to be that it was two different people, you know, and it was like birth and rebirth. And it was meant to show that, you know. And we just used green eyes cuz I have green eyes. And “there’s a lot going on” means that there’s a lot more going on in the world than most people think or care to realize.



IZZY'S ABSENCE

Interesting, in 2009, Marc Canter would say Izzy had wanted a simple music video based on old recordings of performances:

[Izzy] called me right before he quit to see if I would make him a video of all the times they played "Don't Cry" from the old days. I guess he thought that they could use the footage for the MTV one.


Izzy didn't show up for the filming of the 'Don't Cry' video [see previous chapter], and in the video Dizzy had a sign with "Where's Izzy" written on it on his back in a scene in the video:

If you see the sign that says “Where’s Izzy,” that’s me, that’s my back. Other than that it’s a really great video.


Having to replace Izzy's parts with a second Axl made the video into "the Axl video", which wasn't Axl's intention:

I didn’t really plan on this being completely “the Axl video,” and now, in ways it’s kind of turning out to be. So that was really hard, because I want the band to be happy, and everything for us to gel, and get along there.



THANKING JOSEPH BROOKS


At the end of the music video for 'Don't Cry' the text "P.S. thanx Joseph!" is shown. In his 1991 Rockline interview, Axl would explain this was to honor Joseph Brooks who had played a role in the band's early success:

And Joseph was the guy who... You know, Don’t Cry was his favorite song. He’s a DJ out here in Hollywood that keeps a lot of bands alive, and keeps people listening to them - you know, a bit alternative and a bit hard rock - and he works in all the hard rock clubs. And he’d got our song, Don’t Cry, to the record company in the beginning, and I didn’t feel that anybody that he had helped had really thanked him enough. And I knew if I put it on there, it would be permanent, and if I didn’t put his last name – his name is Joseph Brooks – people would be like, “Oh, who is Joseph?”



PLANNING A EXPLANATORY DOCUMENTARY


In the March 1992 issue of RIP Magazine it was said that the band planned a documentary detailing the making of the music video for 'Don't Cry' that "will answer all the questions about the clip and what it all means" [RIP Magazine, March 1992].

I’m really proud of Don’t Cry and November Rain. I really like the writing of the story and putting all the scenes together. And “Why did she die?” “How did she die?” “What happened?” And it’s like, we’ll tell you later (chuckles)


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:32 pm

IZZY IS OUT! OR IS HE?


According to this quote from Axl, Izzy had considered quitting the band at some point before 1991 due to people misinterpreting their songs:

[…] there's a line in ["It's So Easy"], "I drink and drive/and everything's in sight". We were talking about, kind of, how we got away with things and we're lucky to be here. It was real hard knowing that some of these kids would just go out and go, ”Yeah, I drink and drive and everything's in sight.” I mean, Izzy put it best when he said that a lot of people think our record means you know, party and do cocaine and rock ‘n’ roll. And it's like, that just ain’t what it is. So Izzy was gonna quit at one time because he was... didn't like the way people reacted to it.


Izzy would later confirm that he had considered leaving before the band recorded Use Your Illusions, but point to Axl being the problem:

Yeah, it must've crossed my mind a few times. But I didn't think about it every single day. It's true that sometimes things were ridiculous: Axl would leave the stage after the second song and I was thinking, "Man... we look stupid!" But the idea of quitting wasn't deep inside me. The music kept us together. Slash, Steven, Duff, and I weren't living very far from each other and we played a lot. So I wanted to make another record, and we did: it was a double or a triple, I don't even remember (ed.: once again, Izzy is dead serious while saying this!)...


During the recording of the Illusions Izzy was frustrated with the lack of structure to the process and tried talking to Axl about this:

I tried talking to [Axl] during the Illusion albums: 'If we had a schedule here, come in at a certain time...' And he completely blew up at me: 'There is no fucking schedule'.


In early 1991, when asked if he was the guy "in charge of getting everybody’s butt together and saying, 'Let’s go do this', 'Let’s go do that'", Izzy would say:

No, I don’t think so. Not so much, you know? I’m usually the first one who wants to get on the plane, like, a day earlier or something. Let’s go check the place out, you know? For the gig. But, yeah, I wouldn’t say that.


It was also obvious Izzy was struggling with all the controversies the band generated and in particular the late starts:

We've got the gigs booked, so we'd best show up and play. 'Cause I don't want to be on CNN anymore.

Axl's just naturally late. It can get pretty tense at times, particularly when you're supposed to be on-stage and you're sitting there, literally counting the seconds, thinking 'man, we've just had a riot in St. Louis. Now we're in Texas. What the fuck is going to happen here?'
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991


And at the same time, Izzy was looking forward to what he was going to do after the touring:

After this tour's finished, I'd like to go hang out in Europe, preferably somewhere near the ocean, and just keep writing songs.
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991


Around this time there were rumours about Izzy quitting, partly due to him distancing himself from the band and not being featured in the two music videos ('You Could Be Mine' (except for live scenes) and 'Don't Cry'), and before the show at Wembley on August 31 media had been speculating on whether he would show [see previous chapters].


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:33 pm

SEPTEMBER 1991
IZZY CALLS FOR A BAND MEETING; KERRANG! CLAIMS HE HAS QUIT


Some time in September there was a meeting in Los Angeles "about the future of Guns N' Roses" [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992]. It is likely it was Izzy who initiated the meeting to bring up some changes to the band he felt was necessary "for the sake of the livelihood of the band" [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992]. One of the issues were the late starts that resulting in curfews costing the band money:

It was really fucked that it even had to come into play, to base something like that on money. But the reality was that it was bumming me out, to be waiting there because someone else is late. It's just not fair to the audience, to the other band members. And the crew! When you go on three hours late, that's three hours less sleep they get. […] I expressed my feeling to Axl, and the very next night on MTV I saw that I was going to be replaced by the guy in Jane's Addiction. So I took that as an indication that I'd really pissed him off.


"That guy" in Jane's Addiction was Dave Navarro and media would speculate that he would replace Izzy in October 1991 [Billboard, October 5, 1991]. Tom Atencio, the co-manager of Jane's Addiction, said that Dave Navarro, the group's guitarist, has been contacted about sitting in for Izzy if the guitarist decides to stop touring.

A source close to the band would emphasize that this situation was very different from what went down with Steven: "This is totally Izzy's decision, and it appears to be based on whether he wants to spend the next two years of his life on the road in such a highly volatile situation" [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

At the same time, Geffen would deny the rumours:

Izzy Stradlin is not quitting the band, and David Navarro has not been asked to join the band.


Although a representative for FD Entertainment - Doug Goldstein's management company - would paint a slightly different picture:

Izzy hasn’t left the band yet. David Navarro has not been asked to join the band yet. The band personnel has not been changed . . . Right now, Izzy’s still in the band.


After the meeting, Izzy travelled to Indiana and spent large parts of October and November riding trial bikes [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

The press would also pick up on the story and Kerrang! ran with the headline "Izzy Stradlin' Quits Band" [Kerrang! September 21, 1991]. It turned out that wasn't entirely true, or at least a bit premature, and neither the band or Izzy would confirm Izzy's departure at the time. Izzy wasn't completely out of the band yet, even if he hadn't been able to change the way the band was run. Or, at least, the final resignation would come in November.

In October, the rumors again swirled that he was permanently out of the band, implying his problems with the "madness of it all" and "Axl's tantrums":

Izzy's absence at interviews appears to be more than just a passing phase. Never the most verbal of the band and certainly the only founder-member able to walk the streets relatively unrecognised, his decision seems to have a more permanent quality about it. Throughout the whole tour Izzy had travelled seperately from the rest of the band and rumours concerning his departure from the band began to emanate when the Gunners were in Germany and cancelled a show. These now appear to have been founded with the guitarist finally feeling that the madness of it all had grown too much and that Axl's tantrums had gone too far. Quite whether he has left for good has yet to be clarified, although it is understood that the rest of the band are attempting to coax him back.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:33 am

1991
AXL BECOMES THE DE FACTO BAND LEADER


For quite a while, the band's approach to Axl had been to leave him alone rather than confront him. As one anonymous band member was allegedly quoted as saying to VOX journalist Nick Kent: "Nowadays we just let Axl do pretty much what he feels, 'cos he'll only do it anyway" [VOX, October 1991].

This would be illuminated in an interview Malcolm Dome did with Slash in July 1991 but which wasn't released until February 2020 [Malcolm Dome, July 9, 1991]. Dome would ask Slash if there still was a "strong sense of togetherness in the band":

F*ck, yeah We’re as close as ever. Not sure why you need to ask.


Dome would follow up with Axl having his own floors at hotels where not even band members could enter without permission:

That's true. But we all agreed to him having this arrangement. He wants his own space and that’s the way he chooses to deal with the incredible pressure that's on this band now. And if that’s what it takes to get him in the right frame of mind, then that's OK by me.


When Dome pointed out that this sounded like they would do anything to keep Axl happy:

I would. Whatever it takes to get him onto the stage every night is f*cking cool. You see, the rest of us in the band understand him better than anyone outside. Unless you walk in our shoes, you can’t appreciate what we go through.


Kent would also write, likely based on what Izzy told him, that Axl had insisted on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums being so long, that Axl had insisted that Skid Row should open on their tour (despite band members despising them), that Axl had called for the resignation of Alan Niven, and that Axl decided on what music would be played over the PA before the shows [VOX, October 1991]. It was likely Izzy who had a problem with Skid Row, since Slash and Duff would party with Sebastian Bach [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016; Slash's biography; Melody Maker, August 10, 1991] and Duff would invite Bach to play on his record [source?]. Additionally, Slash would repeatedly argue in favor of the long 'Use Your Illusion' albums to get rid of the backlog and allow them to start afresh on the next record [Rolling Stone, January 1991; Melody maker, August 1991; Slash's biography]. So one should probably not take all these allegations at face value.

Regardless, many articles would still imply that the label was afraid of Axl's temper and behavior and would rather accommodate him than put the foot down [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Simply put, "Axl runs the group" [VOX, October 1991] or, in the words of "a source at Geffen," "Axl’s got everybody by the balls"[/i] [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

One alleged example of this comes from Izzy when he tells how the firing of Alan Niven happened:

Axl fired [Niven]. […] We weren't given any choice! It happened like that. Four members of the band were against and Axl said "All right, take him as a singer then because if he stays, I leave!" What can you do? What can you say?


Izzy would also talk about Axl's attempts at controlling the band:

In high school, you know, Axl, he had long, red hair, he was a little guy and he got a lot of shit [because of it]. I think he never got laid, too, in school. I hate to bring this up cos this is getting nasty  [laughs]. But he never got no pussy at school, Axl. So now the guy's a big fucking rock star, he's got the chicks lined up, he's got money and he's got people... and the power went to this guy's head. I mean, he was a fucking monster! Nuts! Crazy!

And I never saw it coming. I mean, this is my side of it, he'd probably say I'm completely fucking crazy, but I think he went power mad. Suddenly he was trying to control everything. Did you ever see those fucked up contracts for the journalists to sign?

The control issue just became worse and worse and eventually it filtered down to the band. He was trying to draw up contracts for everybody! And this guy, he's not a Harvard graduate, Axl. He's just a guy, just a little guy, who sings, is talented. But man, he turned into this fucking maniac. And I did, too, but it was a different kind of maniac. I was paranoid about the business aspect - I was the one freaking out going, 'Where's all the money?'

[…]

For [Axl] the money wasn't as big a deal. But he had this power thing where he wanted complete control. And you can say, well, it goes back to your fucked up childhood where his dad used to smack him around, you know, and he had no control, so now he's getting it back. But it's like, it's still kooky, you know? You don't have to have everybody signing stuff.


Axl was confronted by rumors of taking control of the band and forcing decision through ultimatums, when he did an interview with Musician in March 1992 (published in June 1992). When the interviewer said, "It seems like you have the other guys in the band over a barrel sometimes. Everyone knows you're capable of saying, "The hell with it, I won't go on" or won't record or won't show up. Doesn't that force the band to say, "We better do it Axl's way or it ain't going to happen at all"? Axl simply responded "Yeah" [Musician, June 1992].

The interviewer followed up by asking if it is fair to say that by going from a shared vision to Axl's vision it takes something out of the band. In his reply Axl would indicate that he had always had the vision and that Slash and Duff was finally coming round to it:

Yeah, it's somewhat fair. That's definitely the case with Izzy. Izzy wanted the financial rewards and the power rewards of my vision. Izzy's vision was much smaller. The other guys in the band just though I was crazy. In order to make certain things happen, certain people had to think certain ideas were completely their own. I definitely knew what I wanted. I didn't know quite how to get there. And sometimes the only way to have everybody going the same place is to allow them to think that they're the ones who thought of it. [...] It's not so much that way anymore and it's been real difficult to uncover that reality. It's been hard for people to accept. But it has been a basic reality of Guns N' Roses since the beginning. It just wasn't seen. Because I wasn't someone who had all the answers and all the plans, I just had a vision. I wasn't necessarily someone that people wanted to follow blindly and say, "He's got the plan, let's go." I've finally earned respect from Duff and Slash that wasn't necessarily there before. And Slash and I, more than anyone else, are very much a team.


In September 1992, Izzy would be asked about Axl claiming he was the man with the vision and reply sarcastically:

Yeah, that's right! […] Surely, yeah, whereas we wouldn't see beyond an hotel bar's closing at two in the morning. Without doubt! We played behind him for five years, and never, at any time, we thought about what was happening! Authentical! Whereas him, he was cogitating, in his bedroom. You know, we were just trying to stay in life, behind.


In May 1992, while opening for GN'R, Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, would describe GN'R this way:

GNR and their management are like a small government. Axl's the president, and his manager's a personal advisor. A couple of the other more visible band members are vice-presidents.
NME, June 20, 1992


When Slash was asked about the running of the band, in mid-1992, he offered a corroborating picture:

We all have our own particular little things that we do. You know, that we do best. Like, on a creative level, having to do what the band is doing, it's really between Duff and Axl and I. Because none of the other guys are actually original. Although Matt's come in and we sit down and listen to what he has to say about stuff. You know, Axl has his thing and I more or less like, the day-to-day stuff because I'm always there. Like: "Give me something to do!" So I get into that. Duff has his thing and we just fall into it naturally so there's not a lot of debating as to who does what.


But it was clear that if you weren't part of the partnership, e.g. Axl, Slash and Duff, you were to some extent left out of the decision making process:

[When asked what the future holds for the band]: The future is very hard to say. We’ve got this tour going on right now and we’re gonna, you know, probably go out again in January and do Japan and South America and Australia. You know, you never know what’s gonna happen with this band. I pretty much – I wake up in the morning, turn on MTV and, you know, I find out (chuckles). […] Or the radio, I turn that on, you know, “Axl’s in jail,” oh wow.


In May 1993, Dizzy would be asked if the band worked as a democracy, but his answer wasn't decisive and he said that everybody had different roles:

Yeah, kind of. There should be. Everyone knows what his role is and keeps to it.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek


Later, in 1996, Matt would discuss why he had come to accept Axl as the visionary leader of the band:

And Axl is really intelligent and he always make the good choices. I must agree with him, because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [after the end of touring in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […]  You know, when he does something, when he present it to us, I say "This guy is crazy!". But he's always right! Like when we did Use your Illusion 1 & 2… When I heard this idea, I said to myself "He's crazy! We will release 30 songs on 2 albums? I would never buy 2 albums of the same band." Result? We made history with those 2 albums. Nobody did it before. […] You know, the first time I heard November Rain, I thought: "What is this shit?, What does Axl is doing behind the piano? I want rock!" But I was new in GNR and I thought "Matt, you leave The Cult and now you're in the greatest hard rock band of the world…" He sat at the piano and I was thinking "This is shit". Then the song came out, and it's the biggest thing we've aver done! That's why I have this attitude: "OK Axl, you think we should do that? I'm with you". You know what I mean? He knows what he's doing.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek


Slash would also confirm that Axl had become the leader:

[…] realistically from Use Your Illusion all the way up until now, Axl's been holding the reigns on taking it in his direction […]


Duff would later be confronted with statements saying that when making Use Your Illusions Axl was calling the shots and driving the band:

Yeah, I mean, it just really wasn't like that. We were still a band.


In 2011, Alan Niven would retell a story of Slash explaining why he let Axl take control:

We make choices every day. With Use Your Illusion, Slash made a choice and I totally understood it, and to this day I don’t agree with it. One night, he and I were sitting alone in his house up in Laurel Canyon and he was really bemoaning what he thought Axl was doing to the band, and he was doing it in the context of the material he was writing. He felt it wasn’t Guns N’ Roses, he felt that he was being compromised by having to apply himself to it. He felt that one song of that kind of epic style might be appropriate, but so many? I looked at him and said: ‘You’ve got to express this’. And Slash looked at me and he said: ‘Listen, my father [an artist who designed album sleeves] has got a cupboard full of gold records, and he hasn’t got a pot to piss in.’ And that’s where he folded. From then on, Axl was in charge.


When asked about this, Slash responded:

Well… I think that Axl’s always been difficult, but we managed. Because of the five individuals, and Alan, and Tom Zutaut, we managed to make it work. So you lose Steven, and then the Alan thing… I backed Alan all the way up to a certain point and then he did actually do something that set me off and I said: ‘I can’t fight for you any more’. But that was a volatile situation that was going to explode at some point. Alan wasn’t going to take Axl’s shit and Axl could not stand that, so it was a battle. I think in hindsight, although it wouldn’t have been any fun, but all we could have done differently was just to refuse Axl everything that he ever wanted. I don’t think it would have been very productive, but all things considered, what we ended up doing was going along with a lot of stuff just in order to be able to continue on, which built a monster. All I can see happening is that nothing would have happened, because it would have been at a standstill. I think we probably would have broken up a lot sooner.


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Post by Soulmonster Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:02 am

OCTOBER 1991
DUFF IS TOLD TO STOP DRINKING


In the March 1992 issue of RIP Magazine, it would be claimed that Duff's drinking got so bad his doctor in October 1991 told him to quit drinking [RIP Magazine, March 1992]. Three months later, in January 1992, Duff was still sober but said it was hard:

I want to go a year, but it's gonna be tough.


It could have been around this time Duff was sent to Hawaii (together with Doug Goldstein) to sober up and met Linda Johnson [The Howard Stern Show, September 1993], a tactic employed earlier to try to sober Slash up [see previous chapters].


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:50 pm

NOVEMBER 1991
AXL AND SLASH WANTS MORE FROM IZZY


After returning to Los Angeles from Indiana, in the second half of November [Kerrang! September 5, 1992] at the end of the band's rehearsals for the next leg of the tour [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], Izzy had a meeting with Axl and Slash where Izzy was "threatened" to be demoted from "equal partner", which would affect his share in revenues, unless he started to work harder. This was the final straw for Izzy:

In November I went back to LA, and there were some conditions and terms put to me which pretty much made the decision to quit the band real easy for me. I just thought, this is not acceptable - so that was it. […] When I was told how the future was gonna be in the band, I thought about it for a long time that night, and when I woke up the next morning, I knew what I was gonna do that day. I decided to leave.

I went out there and I was trying to work it out with those guys. And it was put to me by the singer how things were gonna be. There was an agreement I was supposed to sign and when I heard the figures I said, 'There's no way I can go along with this.' I just didn't think it was fair, so l said, 'Well, screw it. Gotta go.'

It was made clear to me how things were going to be run. I slept on it, and when I woke up in the morning, I said, ‘That’s the end of the line for me.’ I just felt like my opinions were no longer considered valid. It wasn’t about being a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing music any more. Life is tough enough to live day to day without an extra 50lb of aggravation on your head.

[…] Axl made it clear that he was going to do things his way, and there was no space for debate. So I had to make it clear to everybody that that was the end of the line for me.

It was about time that we had some long discussions. I went back out to L.A. and hooked up and had a rehearsal and talked to the guys. Things didn't feel right. I just decided I was going to say goodbye and wish them well.

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint.'


Axl and Slash would explain what they wanted from Izzy:

The guy’s a great songwriter. He’s got his own style. He's a cool character. But I'm so ambitious about what I do that I’m always a mile ahead of myself. He’s so not into doing anything. He could be so potentially awesome if he would let himself get totally involved in the band trip, or even his own thing. But he’s so laid back he’ll probably never get around to it. […] It’s strange, but when he got high, everything was cool. He got clean and he couldn’t hang out in the Guns N’ Roses element, or whatever. […] He didn’t wanna do any videos, hardly wanted to show up in the studio. When we ended the last leg of the tour, he didn’t play guitar for three months. He was riding his bike in Indiana or whatever. […] When he showed up at rehearsals for this leg, he sounded like he hadn’t played in three months. The next day he didn’t show at rehearsal at all. Me and Axl were at the end of our f—ing rope. He wasn’t contributing. He was equal partner in the band, so we told him, ‘Until you start doing something you’re not an equal partner.’ He resigned. Didn’t even tell us. Sent notification to the office, the accountant.

So then Axl and I decided that he wasn’t an equal partner, per se, unless he decided to change his ways about a few things — at least do like a couple videos a year, and work harder on the road. And Izzy said, ΌΚ, I resign'. […] But I can’t understand why he would drop out of something as cool as what we’ve been doing. That’s not an ego thing — that’s not like ‘We’re the biggest band in the world and why would you want to quit that?’ I was like, ‘Why would you want to quit the relationship that we have that got us to where we are? Why would you just want to flake out on it?’

[Izzy] stopped wanting to do it, you know, and he didn’t want to go through the ups and downs of what any rock band goes through, which is sort of like your own life, but we live our life out in public. But he just didn’t want to make any effort.

We love Izzy, but there were certain things we weren’t getting from Izzy, that we really wanted. Everybody was, like, giving a certain amount, and we thought that everybody should give energy in a certain way to Guns N’ Roses; and we weren’t getting that.

But basically, we just came to the conclusion that Izzy wasn't putting in the time we thought was necessary for the good of the band. It had been building up for a long time. And finally Izzy came out in the open with me and Axl and said he didn't want to deal with the work that was involved. So we decided to work with someone else.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 23, 2021 4:04 pm

NOVEMBER 1991
IZZY AND AXL HAVE A FALL-OUT


After the meeting with Slash and Axl, Izzy went to the band's lawyer and prodded into the band's finances presumably not happy with how the band was run [Popular 1, November 1992], Although Slash would say that Izzy checked out the band's finances before the meeting with him and Axl:

The next thing we found out though was that he’d been down to the accountants to find out how much money had been spent on what, when it had nothing to do with him. Axl and I went to him and said ‘Unless you start doing such and such you’re not a full partner anymore’ (Slash’s reference to ‘partners’ here deals with the GN’R corporation which all initial members were part of to take care of business – Ed). Then, without even calling us, he resigns through the office.



IZZY AND AXL TALKS ON THE PHONE


Axl tried to convince Izzy to stay and they had a "four hour" phone conversation that ended "amicably" [Popular 1, November 1992]. In this conversation Axl said it was okay if Izzy "didn't want to do this anymore", likely implying that the band would be fine with Izzy not touring any more [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

Axl had a talk with him on the phone and just said ‘Well, listen if you don’t want to do this anymore then that’s fine ‘cos maybe we can write together in the future’ and Izzy was cool and it was real amicable.


Izzy would later talk about this phone conversation and what Axl tried to achieve:

Let’s say that what [Axl] did say didn’t make any sense. (laughs). I didn’t understand what he wanted to get out, but, whatever it was, he didn’t accomplish anything.

Before I left I spoke with Axl for a couple of hours on the telephone, and he made it real clear to me that he was going to be running things, so to speak, and there were some conditions put up that I was going to have go by. He was trying to make it good for me as well, I guess, but at the same time I realized that was it, I was done. The next day I signed my leaving papers. What a relief, too, I gotta tell you. I got tired of it, man. I just didn't understand it anymore. It didn't make any sense to me.



THE MOOD SOURS


According to an interview/article with Izzy in November 1992, Slash claimed that Izzy then spoke bad about Axl and Slash behind their backs, telling the rest of the band that he had been fired and that they didn't give him an opportunity to defend himself [Popular 1, November 1992]. Slash and Axl heard about Izzy allegedly badmouthing them:

Then he turned around and told Matt and Duff behind our backs that we’d kicked him out. That pissed Axl and me off to no end. Izzy didn’t know we knew and he went over to Axl’s and Axl just turned around and said ‘Get the fuck out of here!’. It was pretty bad.

You wanna know how he really hurt me? When he came up here to my f?!king house and acted like, "What's wrong, man?" It's really weird; I knew he was coming. I could literally feel his car driving up as I was getting dressed. I went outside and sat down, because Izzy couldn't come into my house. I couldn't act like he was my friend after what he'd done to me. He came up and acted like he hadn't done anything, but he let us down at a weird time. It wasn't like someone leaving the band because they couldn't take it anymore; he left in a shitty way. Izzy called up members of the band and tried to turn them against me by saying that I pushed him out, and that's not how it went down. He said a lot of shit behind my back. He tried to make a power play and damage us on his way out, and that's real f?!ked up.


Izzy would also mention the meeting at Axl's house:

[Axl] rang and said, "Will you still write with us?" and asked me to come over his house.

I walk up and he comes out and starts screaming, "Get off my property!" I thought, "You fucking little hayseed redneck trailer trash son of a bitch." What a dick. I drove away feeling like a mountain had been taken off my back.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:28 am

NOVEMBER 1991
IT IS CONFIRMED: IZZY IS OUT


Izzy has always been a great friend- I always love working with him. He was really a key driving force in the creative direction of GnR.

_____________________________________________

On November 16, the guitarist Marc Ford told that he have received a phone call from Slash (on November 11 and 12) where he'd been asked to become Guns N' Roses' new touring guitarist. Ford, who had recently joined The Black Crowes, declined [Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1991].

In February 1992, Slash would say that Izzy "dropped out three weeks before we were meant to start the US tour" [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], probably meaning the leg of the tour that started on December 5, 1991, meaning that Izzy quit the band in mid-November 1991. This coincides well with Marc Ford being asked to replace Izzy on November 16, although the band had obviously considered other guitarists, including Dave Navarro as early as September 1991, around the time when they had the band meeting in Los Angeles [see earlier chapter] and it became obvious Izzy was considering to quit the band. Later, Slash would pinpoint the date of Izzy's departure to November 7 [RIP, March 1992]. It also coincides fairly well with Izzy describing that he spent October and the first half of November in Indiana riding trial bikes, before returning to Los Angeles in the second half of November and then quitting [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Apparently, Matt tried to dissuade Izzy from leaving:

When Izzy left, I wasn't happy. I spent hours on the phone with him, asking him not to leave us.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French



NOVEMBER 27: MAKING IT PUBLIC


MTW News then reported that Izzy had quit the band, but the news was quickly withdrawn by the request of the band [RAW, December 1991] only to be officially announced by Axl on November 27, on a Rockline interview. Axl would also state that Gilby Clarke would replace Izzy for the tour:

Izzy has resigned. […] At this point, no [=Izzy will not continue writing with the band]. And we have our own plans for the next - the follow-up - and then the record after that. And it’s kinda like, we’re going in separate directions, and he’s not really into touring or video or anything like that. And Slash and I are the ones, you know, figuring out the direction that Guns N’ Roses is going, and Izzy is not really part of that anymore, so...[…] Right now we have a guitar player named Gilby Clarke. And he’s been in Hollywood about as long as us. And, you know, he’s doing a really good job. But I don’t know about farther than the touring.



REACTIONS FROM BAND MEMBERS


[When confronted with a fan who was shocked about Izzy leaving]: Well, we’ve been together for 15 years, so it’s kind of a shock to my system too.

I'm real... hurt, confused and disappointed with Izzy.

I'm no longer working with Izzy, and people have written about how that went down. (Axl laughs) They weren't around. They didn't see it. They didn't know. They didn't know how painful that experience was. They had no clue. But yet, I was just a dick. (Axl laughs) I just went off on Izzy. You know, he tried to talk to me nicely and l went off. That's not how it went down. It was funny: when Bruce Weber was taking the photos of Stephanie and l for this article, that's when l got the call that Izzy was leaving the band. […] Bruce was taking photos and I was standing there crying. l was blown away. At those times when we're against the wall kissing and my tongue was out and stuff, it's like, there were also tears going dawn my face but with the lighting or whatever it doesn't show. But it was there. Stephanie was helping to comfort me. We didn't go, "Well, let's hug and kiss for the photos." She was comforting me -- my friend of fifteen years was leaving.

The timing, I guess, wasn't a very comfortable thing.

[Izzy] didn’t have the courage to come up and tell us in person; he got his lawyers to contact us. He left me looking for a replacement with about a day to find one. Thanks a f------ lot.

And when [Izzy] finally quit it was, like, such short notice and so close to the next leg of the tour. And he didn’t call any of the guys in the band; he just called management and sent, like, a letter of resignation.

I'll admit I wasn't real pleased with Izzy when he left Slash and I high and dry, trying to find a guitarist three weeks before our tour started.

So we managed to get on tour during the making of the "...Illusion" albums. Then we took one short break - and Izzy quit two weeks before the next leg of the tour was to start! […] Without talking to the guys in the band, he called management and the accountants' office. I'll never forgive him for that because I've known him for so long and we've been through so much together, blah, blah, blah.


I August 1992, Slash would claim he was happy about Izzy leaving:

In fact, I was really happy because I could never understand what was going on with him. Like even on stage, he would just sort of stand there--and that was the only time I'd see him on the road because he traveled separately. When he finally left, it was like a relief because there had been no communication at all.


That Slash wasn't angry with Izzy at the time, and rather happy about it all, seems somewhat at odds with quotes where Slash expressed frustration with Izzy for not doing his part, and feelings of hurt when he quit.

In September 1992, Duff would say that the split was "amicable and all" [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Again, no, it likely wasn't entirely amicable.

In mid-1992, with Izzy having left the band, Slash would look back at firing Steven and compare with Izzy:

The reasons [why Steven was fired and Izzy quit] were very different. Steven didn’t leave only because of his drug problem, but also because he couldn’t handle the pressure. And I hate to say it, but I miss him much more than Izzy, who thought that being in the band was just a question of ‘sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll’; he didn't accept the other aspects of this job.
L'Unita, May 16, 1992; translated from Italian


Robert John would also comment on Izzy leaving:

I always thought that Izzy and Axl were like Lennon and McCartney. And when Izzy left the band, it was a big deal – at least as far as I was concerned. But he didn’t tour with us anyway. We took a jet and he had his own tour bus. And it’s like, he would tow a trailer with his motorcycles and everything so that he could go riding and have fun. He loves to travel - Izzy’s a big map guy, too. So, you know, wherever we were, he would just meet up with us. We’d fly in and he’d drive in. So I started seeing the split then. I don’t think Izzy ever wanted the band to get that big. Izzy is the type of guy that he would have been very happy to stay in the clubs.



THE SILVER LINING


Axl would also philosophize on losing members and turn a positive spin on it:

Yeah, well, it’s kinda like...It’s evolving, you know. And certain members necessarily couldn’t keep up with where it’s going, and, you know, we actually ended up being more happy with where we’re at now than where we were. It’s like, we’re glad about the times we had with these people and the songs we did, but it’s evolving, and we’re really happy to be where we’re at right now. And we feel stronger than ever, you know. There’s obstacles every day that seem like the bottom fallout. But we put it back together and we’re usually much more happy with the results of putting it back together than where we were before the accident happened. […] And it’s like, everybody wants to see that togetherness that maybe they aren’t necessarily able to achieve in their own lives, you know, and to relate to it in someone else’s. And it would be nice if we were able to make people happy in that way. But that’s just, unfortunately, how it’s worked for us. And, you know, we’re really happy musically with where we’re going and the directions we’re going.



WELCOME BACK?


Izzy would claim he was immediately open to working with the band or Axl again:

When I left the band, I told [Axl]: “If you ever need me to make a record, don’t hesitate to call.”
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French


And not long after Izzy quit, Slash would say Izzy would still write with the band and occasionally play with them, but that he was out as a touring musician:

Izzy resigned from Guns on November 7, 1991, because his heart wasn't in it. He's just not interested anymore. It was one of those things where he just didn't want to tour again. Izzy's been keeping himself more or less clean for quite a while now, and the chaos of being on the road, especially with the rest of us driving him crazy, he just couldn't deal with it. He's been 110% sober for the past two years, and even though I'm not shooting up or anything anymore. I'm still a nutcase when it comes to extracurricular activities. He tried to come back though. He came to a couple rehearsals, but he really wasn't there. He didn't care. His heart wasn't in it. Izzy's still gonna write with us, and he might make a few special appearances on the road, but he's no longer a touring member of the band. As for me, personally, I'd rather Izzy be happy. And this is what he wants.



ENDING THE PARTNERSHIP


When I left the group my lawyers negotiated a deal which said that I was to be given a certain percent on everything the group earned until November 1997.


This could indicate that after 1997, Izzy was not due any further revenues from Guns N' Roses.


LOOKING BACK


I never regretted the decision to quit. The week I left I was back in Lafayette and I watched this big pay-per-view thing they did from Paris. It was weird but I was thinking I'd much rather be here watching it on TV then shlepping around with those guys.

I survived. I managed to get sober, we were so fucked up... otherwise, there weren’t any bad memories, we only had great moments.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

[Being asked if he was bitter]: No, I was paid and I had a good time.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French


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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:43 am

WHY IZZY LEFT


I don't really enjoy being a center of attention. I'm more into the music and what's happening with that. I enjoy having those guys take care of the publicity.

You know it's one of those things where all I can say at this point is that I left for my reasons, and I really can't talk about it right now. I mean, I've gotta leave it alone for a bit. There's too many unresolved issues, so if I talk about it it's not gonna help things any. I hear this, I hear that, but I figure, let it fuckin' blow. Hopefully, down the road the stuff will all get cleared up.

___________________________________________________________________

There is likely not one single reason why Izzy left, many reasons have been given by the parties involved. Hence, it is easy to choose the one that fits one's narrative the best.

In 2012, Marc Canter would summarize some of the reasons:

[Izzy] quit the band for probably 20 different reasons but he was also paranoid about the lawsuits pouring in over the St. Louis riots and he was so paranoid that he would lose everything he had that he just detached and was out of the band and left that attachment.  He just jumped ship but it was also because of the drugs and alcohol that Slash and Duff were doing while they were sitting around waiting for Axl to go onstage.  They would just sit and drink and do drugs all night and Izzy could only take so much of being around that after he was sober for a few years.  That was just way too much of a temptation for him.  Then there were the overtime fees for the union crews and everything, they were playing gigs and making 200 grand but they were finding out they lost all that money to paying the crews and the concession people for them standing around waiting for Axl.  They were also having to pay civic ordinance fees and fines and basically paying through the nose when they should have been cleaning up as far as the money went.  Izzy wanted no part of that, they were in a band and not making any money but yet there were thousands and thousands of paying customers out there every night.   When you’re not going on until midnight or whatever it starts to get pretty costly.  The whole deal with the “Don’t Cry” video costing a million dollars, he wanted no part of that which is why there’s that famous sign in the video saying “Where’s Izzy?”.  He even called me right before they were gonna do that and asked me to find copies of all of my old videos to try and get the band to look at all of them and piece together a video out of the various live clips of them performing it.  He really wanted to avoid spending a million bucks on the video.



TIRED OF IT ALL


I was sick of it, just completely fed up with it. It didn't feel like it used to, something wasn't happening that used to happen for me.

Well, this gig wasn't making me laughing anymore. You know, it's quite easy, I wasn't happy anymore. So I told myself, all right let's do something else!

Guns N' Roses was pure chaos. The smallest thing could turn into a massive problem. You'd get pulled in one direction and then the other. It was really difficult keeping hold of where you were supposed to be going. What really bothered me was working on 'Use Your Illusion I and II'. It progressed really slowly. Each song kept being taken to bits and analysed again and again and remade and before you knew it was weeks and months had gone by. When we finally finished a song I'd forgotten how to play the others. Slowly but surely, I began to realise that I wanted to have less and less to do with it. When things went on and on I finally realised that I'd have to do something about it.

It was a very clear-headed decision. I didn’t leave in any emotional state or anything like that. See, I just wanted to play music and have fun, just enjoy it. And it wasn't like that anymore.

The machinery was working, the planes were flying, the shows were happening just like always. But once I quit drugs, I couldn't help looking around and asking myself, `Is this all there is?' I was just tired of it; I needed to get out.'


In the following quote Izzy would also say he was tired of Doug Goldstein:

I was so terribly tired of the whole business so I took a time off. I was tired of my manager and I had a Guns N' Roses deal hanging over me.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998: translated from Swedish


Goldstein would later tell his version of why Izzy left:

Sometime in 1991, during a break in touring, Izzy Stradlin called me to inform me that he wanted to leave the project. He thought the whole thing was insanity. The rampant drug and alcohol abuse by the rest of the band (with the exception of Axl), and being in a different city everyday was too tough for him to maintain his own sobriety. He informed me that he "just wanted to be in one of the biggest club bands in the world, not one of the biggest bands in the world".


The "Guns N' Roses deal" that was hanging over Izzy was likely Axl and Slash's attempt at forcing Izzy to work harder or be demoted to a member on salary [see previous chapter and below].

That Izzy didn't enjoy the band anymore and wanted a change, is also indicated from him slowly distancing himself from the band in the period leading up to his leaving. This comes through in the following quotes where Slash talked about Izzy's absence during recording of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums with Slash having to record most of his parts:

[Izzy] just wanted to hang out. He thought it would be easy. Even on stage, I knew I had to walk around this person. We never got a sound thing together, or a guitar combo — I ended up playing most of the guitars on the record. […] When he left, he didn’t even resign to us. He called the office, and sent out a memo to everybody. There was a certain amount of hurt in that.

Izzy basically left while we were recording the "...Illusion" records. He's not on half of those records. He hardly even played on his own songs!

The situation with Izzy was that he just didn't want to make the effort, all the way around. There's a lot of work involved; it's not a gig where we show up and cruise through it.

The whole things goes back quite a way. That goes back to the end of our first tour (which ended around late ’88). Izzy and I both went through a breakneck fuckin’ drug bout where we were both very scarey. There came a point where Izzy had to go out to Indiana and straighten himself out as well as me reaching a point where I had with the authorities in the US. I just felt it was ridiculous. The band weren’t doing anything, we’d just played the Stones dates and it was a case of trying to get it all back together again. We went to Chicago to try and do that, as you know. Izzy just didn’t show up for like three months or something. It was just then that it became increasingly obvious that he wasn’t making any effort to do it anymore.

All this shit was going on but, like I said, I don’t go public about shit that’s that personal when it can harm us. And the shit that was going on with Matt and Steven was enough to possibly destroy us. If it hadn’t been for Axl and I really holding on to what Guns N’ Roses is all about and what we had in store for the future was concerned, I’m sure that we would’ve broken up already by then. Izzy was doing nothing to keep it together. He wasn’t playing that great and when he finally showed up he hadn’t touched his guitar for like four months, he didn’t want to be in the videos and he hardly played on the records. All the songs on these records that are his are old demo tapes from years ago that we worked on.

The bottom line is that you’re only as weak as your weakest member and that’s pretty true. When it got to the point where it was me, Matt and Duff rehearsing and trying to get ready for the European tour it didn’t look too good. When we came home after Wembley we carried on rehearsing ‘cos I wanted to hire some horn players. Izzy just wasn’t there.

While I was hiring all these horn players and doing all this work Izzy didn’t seem to care about what we were doing. He showed up right at the tail end of rehearsals and it just was like ‘What the fuck is going on with this band?!’

It’s kinda funny because I know a lot of people are pointing their fingers at Axl and me as being the assholes in this whole thing because they really liked Izzy. The truth of the matter is that we tried everything to keep him going and he just didn’t want to do it. It was a real shame.

To get a clear answer [on why Izzy left], you'd have to ask Izzy. My personal belief is that Izzy never really wanted something this big. There were responsibilities that Izzy didn't want to deal with. He didn't want to work at the standards that Slash and I set for ourselves. […] He didn't want to do videos. […] He just wasn't into it. Getting Izzy to work on his own songs on this record was like pulling teeth. When Izzy had 'em on a four-track, they were done. I mean, I like tapes like that, but we'd just get destroyed if we came out with a garage tape. People want a high-quality album. And it was really hard to get Izzy to do that, even on his own material. Izzy's songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record, not because Izzy gave a shit either way. If people think I don't respect Izzy or acknowledge his talent, they're sadly mistaken. He was my friend. I haven't always been right. Sometimes I've been massively wrong, and Izzy's been the one to help steer me back to the things that were right. But I know that I wanted to get as big as we possibly could from Day One, and that wasn't Izzy's intention at all. I think he's ready to do like an X-Pensive Winos (Keith Richards's band) thing. So maybe the world'll get another really cool band. I know that I'll be trying to get an advance tape, just like everybody else.

I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user.

As far as keeping Guns N' Roses going and figuring out what we're doing, Izzy really wasn't that much involved anymore. He wrote songs, but those songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record and because the band agreed to learn them and liked them and we all worked on them. I really believed in Izzy. I was an Izzy fan for 15 years and I wanted his songs to be a part of this project. But it was like pulling teeth to make that happen. A lot of people might have liked the way Izzy was standing there onstage and it was kind of cool, but the truth of the matter was that Izzy wasn't handling any of the weight.

I love the guy [=Izzy] dearly, so I don't want to belittle his character by saying anything about him. But he just got sick and tired of dealing with everything. I think more than anything he didn't want to do the amount of work that Guns N' Roses has to do to keep it together. […] I totally sold my soul to this thing, but Izzy wasn't that way. He didn't want to do videos or spend all those hours in the studio, and slowly but surely he started to drop out.

After, after the whole drug period… Um, I think everybody went in their own directions. And as far as dealing with getting off the drugs, everybody had their own approach. And from the time that we'd more or less quit, you know, dope and stuff. Um, Izzy had more or less lost interest in… I don't know if he lost interest or, I mean there could have a lot of phases, and I don't wanna, you know, put Izzy's personality into one little sentence. But what it seemed to me was that he'd lost interest in doing the work that was involved. He didn't feel comfortable with all the other guys. Because we'd all gone through this massive emotional experience in trying to get ourselves out of the slum. And he just didn't wanna run with the ball anymore. So, when we finally did get through that whole period and we, we got into the studio he wasn't that interested. He didn't have that much input, as far as recording and all that was concerned. And that was a really stressful time for the entire band anyway. And we went out on tour, and he finally quit. And the time that he was on tour, right before he quit, I was just really pissed off. Because it seemed like he'd show up and he would stand on the stage, for the alotted two and a half, three hours. And then, you know, split. I felt for that whole period of time that he was on stage, he really didn't wanna be there.


Slash would also claim that the band worked up Izzy’s songs from the rhythm guitarist’s demo tapes, and that he refused to rehearse, record overdubs, appear in the band’s videos and was virtually lifeless on stage [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

Izzy would be asked about Slash's claim that Izzy had sent in sloppy demos:

That's not Slash talking. That's Axl talking and Slash repeating it. Axl did say the tapes weren't up to GNR standards. Well, in the beginning nobody owned an eight-track. All our tapes were made on a cassette player. Whatever, I'm credited with just about everything I wrote. I will say that Slash was much better at keeping tapes in order. He always labeled stuff.


The claim that Izzy didn't put in enough effort and that the partnership was no longer equal, was an argument Slash would repeat when discussing Izzy [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992].

When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.


In the band's official fan club newsletter for March 1992, they would explain what happened to their fans this way:

Izzy Stradlin’ resigned from GN’R. Izzy hasn’t been into GN’R for quite awhile. He didn’t want to tour to do videos or anything. So rather than fake it, Izzy felt (and we support his feelings), that it was best to leave the band and do his own thing. We split on good terms and we’ll miss him. He’s been a part of our lives for a long time and losin’ him is kind of a shock for us too. But we’re confident that things will work out better for everyone this way.


Izzy would admit that the growing estrangement between him and his band mates was partly his fault [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

I did prefer to travel at my own pace. They had a jumbo jet and most of the gigs were 200 miles apart. When a gig was over, my girlfriend and my dog and I would get on the tour bus. I didn't need to go out and get laid. I had to pass on the booze. There just wasn't much for me to do backstage. Toward the end of the tour we even dumped the bus and took a van or a motorcycle. My dog Treader loved being on tour. I got him when I got sober and he's helped me keep my perspective, see life through a dog's eyes. You're doing all right if you've got food, a place to sleep and someone to pet you.

[On why he travelled by himself]: It was only because it was much simpler. Most of the time I got there before the plane did. As weird as it sounds, that was usually the case.



BEING MARGINALIZED


Izzy, on the other hand, would claim they had removed his guitar contributions and that this helped to drive him away:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone! From there I lost the little interest I had left in the G N' R enterprise. This and the stadium tour!


And that he didn't have a say anymore:

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint

Izzy felt dictated to and quit, you know?



PUSHED OUT


Izzy's gradual distancing himself from the band would lead to Axl and Slash demanding more from him [also see previous chapter]:

But I can fault someone, in the same way someone can fault me, for being an asshole about the way he went about it. A comic book says how Izzy comes to me and says, "You know, I just don't feel I'm up to this," and I go, "Yeah, and you're scared, too, aw, shit." Well, that ain't the way it went down. […] We were filming "Don't Cry," and he had to be there. Instead, he sent a really short, cold letter and didn't show up. We got this letter saying, "This changes, this changes, and maybe I'll tour in January." And they were ridiculous demands that weren't going to be met. I talked to Izzy for four and a half hours on the phone. At some points, I was crying, and I was begging. I was doing everything I could to keep him in the band. There were stipulations, though. If he was going to do like the old Izzy did, he wasn't going to make as much money. It was like "You're not giving an equal share." Slash and I were having to do too much work to keep the attention and the energy up in the crowd. You're onstage going, "This is really hard, and I'm into it and I'm doing it, but that guy just gets to stand there." […] But when the guy's getting up at six thirty in the morning and riding bicycles and motorcycles and buying toy airplanes, and he's donating all this energy to something else, and it's taking 100 percent of our energy to do what we're doing on the stage, we were getting ripped off. I'm hoping Izzy's new album rocks. But at the same time, it'll be like "Why couldn't he do that with us?" He wouldn't do anything.


And these stipulations are likely what Izzy refers to in the following quote when he is asked if he felt pushed to leave the band:

Yeah, somewhat. I don't want to get into it too deep; a lot of it's personal stuff. I don't wanna say anything that's already been said about me, you know what I mean? There's been a little shit talked from their side, but I just gotta blow it off and say, 'That's how it is with them, it's nothing new'.


Based on the quotes from Slash it seems Izzy was upset by how much money was spent on the tour (as well as other frustrations he felt at the time, as described in this chapter and previous chapters). Slash and Axl, on their side, was frustrated with Izzy and how he had (for a long time) cares less and less about the band. They then gave him an ultimatum, he either had to pull more weight or he would be demoted (from partner to salaried employee). This likely angered and hurt Izzy resulting in him resigning through the office.

This is right before I left - demoting me to some lower position. They were gonna cut my percentage of royalties down. I was like 'Fuck you! I've been there from day one, why should I do that? Fuck you. I'll go play the Whiskey'. That's what happened. It was utterly insane.

[Being asked about the last straw]: After the first leg of the Use Your Illusion tour, Axl wanted me to sign a contract that was pushing me away a little bit, and that it stated that I would be paid less. I couldn't believe it. This contract was coming from a guy that I grew up with. We always saw Guns N' Roses as a "friends thing" and, all of a sudden, basically the singer was telling me "now, it's a business". Why would I go on? Where was the fun? It was the last straw, but there were things that happened before that scared me: during our first show in London (ed. Donnington), kids died during our set. What the hell is that? Is that what rock n' roll is? Is it having a blast and then finding out in an airport newspaper that kids died during your show? What's the fun in playing stadiums every night and then starting a riot in Saint Louis because the singer loses his shit? You really come to a point where you think "all of this isn't funny anymore". Axl wasn't doing his frontman job anymore. And since the others were completely wasted, I couldn't even get them to learn covers: we could have filled in when Axl would leave the stage, make the kids have fun. So there was a drum solo. What's more boring than a drum solo??



THE LATE STARTS


I never really thought about leaving the band till the last tour we did. I didn't feel it was fair to a lot of the people coming to the gigs to go onstage two or three hours late. That's just not right. That's the way Axl is and the way he works, but it's not right for me, and I didn't think it was right for the fans either. Stuff like that kinda got to me after four months on tour. There's a lotta pressure, I suppose, but the bottom line is, If you gotta be somewhere and there's something you gotta do, you do It. That's how I see it. […] When we were playing the gigs, a lotta times it was a case of, how long's it gonna be before Axl comes back onstage? It's a pretty big stage, and you're going, 'Anybody see which way he went?'. Then you see a bunch of roadies running... And the old filling-in with a blues jam and a drum solo shit gets old when it's on a nightly basis. It wasn't every night, but y'know...  […] I don't wanna talk down on these guys because a lot of the stuff that we did as a band was great, some great music, and God knows we had a load of f**king crazy times, good times. I'm really proud of some of the stuff WE did. Now it's 1992, and who knows where it goes from here. I just had to say, 'I'm stepping aside at this point.'

[Talking about trying to learn some songs to play while Axl was off-stage]: I couldn’t get the other guys to learn any cover songs with me, or practice anything to fill the space. I tried talking to Axl about it and he would just get pissed off. I was really fed up and unhappy with it. I felt like there was nothing I could do to fix this thing.

The only thing I wanted to see was the gigs running on time. Also, whoever was responsible for being late should have been prepared to pay the ‘loss charges’ to the union guys. It’s ugly that it comes down to money, but we f***ed away hundreds of thousands of dollars over these late gigs. I didn’t think it was fair for the band to keep turning up late. People have got jobs to go back to in the morning, they have families and kids, they’ve got to get babysitters, and I just figured, ‘Shit, these people are shelling out money for tickets, and we should be on time. If the monitors are f***ed, too f***ing bad. We should just roll with it and try and get them working.

Back when I was a kid, I used to work in a car wash starting at 8 a.m. every day. If you weren't there on time, you got canned. I kept that with me. I think it's just common courtesy not to keep people waiting for you.

The last three months of our last tour got to be a little too much for me. We were having trouble finishing our sets, we couldn’t seem to get on stage at the right time, and it all seemed wrong to me. It just wore me out, and I started thinking, There’s got to be a better way to go about this.

During the last three months I spent on tour with them, it was growing increasingly tough for us to get onstage on time and finish a gig without some sort of interruption. Things were just out of control. In the early days I had some sort of balancing factor in the band, and we'd discuss things. But towards the end, I was less and less spoken to about decisions. I'm sure a lot of it s my own doing, because those last few months were so chaotic that I took a sideline position. I didn't want to be wrapped up in all the madness.

The band was paying hundred of thousands of dollars in curfew violation fees. Izzy finally had it and went over to Axl's house and told him that if he insisted on going on late, the late fees should be charged to him. That was it - Izzy was out of the band.


In late 2008, Axl would talk about being late for show and mention how much it had bothered Izzy:

As far as being late, I've been that way my whole life. It drove Izzy crazy but he would check himself and freely admit I was generally actually doing something that had to get done rather than watching basketball etc.



SOBRIETY


[…] getting sober played a part in my leaving. I think you make more decisions when you're sober. And when you're fucked up, you're more likely to put up with things you wouldn't normally put up with. When I have something I wanna do, I gotta do it. I like just doing it. I didn't like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N' Roses. Sometimes for the simplest things to happen would take days. Time was so slow, you sat around for days just to do a photo shoot. Schedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed. Reschedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed again. That pattern could stretch out for weeks. On "Illusion", we did the basic tracks in about a month. Then there was a time lag of about a year before the vocals were finished. I went back to Indiana and painted the house. If you've got a group and people are focused, it just shouldn't take that long.

For the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, I was sober doing those tracks, and it was just frustrating. When you're sober and you gotta be someplace at four, and when other people come in at six or seven, and they're, like, not quite together, you find yourself thinking, why the fuck was I here at four?

I quit [drugs and alcohol] the year before I left, and I worked with that band for a whole year and watched everybody killing themselves. They were my friends, and I watched my friends killing themselves using drugs and alcohol. The music had taken a back seat and it had just become a circus show. It wasn’t any fun for me at all, so I decided it was time to do something else. I didn’t know what I was gonna do, but I knew I was tired of doing that.

The shows were completely erratic. I never knew whether we'd be able to finish the show from day-to-day, cos [Axl] would walk off...[…] I said to Duff and Slash, we gotta learn a cover song or something, for when [Axl} leaves the stage. They were like, 'Ah, let's have another beer...' They didn't care.

When [Axl] started earning money and getting girls, he couldn't be handled anymore. Everyone was too wasted. I could deal with myself, but I was witnessing Steven, Slash, and Duff literally killing themselves right before my eyes. I don't even remember if Steven was still in the band actually: what the fuck is that by the way? A musician gets fired from Guns N' Roses because he took drugs while the whole band was doing it all the time? As for me, I quit everything a year before leaving the band. So during that year, I witnessed my friends killing themselves. I didn't want to be a witness to that, I didn't want to wake up one morning next to Slash's dead body, telling myself that I indirectly had a part in it. So I left.

[Getting sober] didn’t happen without difficulty. But I had to get clean. Without that, it was either prison or death. I’ve lost friends because of drugs. They were unable to stop fucking around. They ended up dying from overdoses. I soon decided to quit Guns N’ Roses. I had the feeling that we were running around in circles, that we didn’t know where we were going. It wasn’t fun anymore. So I chose survival. I’d either continue touring with those drug addicts and opt for a not so healthy lifestyle or I’d decide to find my own path and regain control. I made my choice.

So then, ’89, ’90, ’91, I have three years of sobriety, three years of still being in Guns N’ Roses. We’re doing Use Your Illusions, we go out on the road and, you know, [I’m] completely sober. I don’t know, there was a point in ’91 where I was just like – I don’t remember how old I was, but it was ’91 and I was like, “You know what, it’s time to change, man. I’m pulling out of this thing. I’ve had enough.” It was absolutely out of control. And, you know, I still loved all the guys. It was a really tough decision, because these were, like, my buddies; we went through a lot together.

As I told you, I was clean for two and a half years already. I was seeing how my friends were dying, and after some time I decided that I'd had enough. I didn't want to continue being a part of that.



OTHER BULLSHIT


[Talking about the press]: It got to the point where the only thing you’d hear or read about was the antics. There was no talk of the music, which was what it was all meant to be about. If the band is consistently in the papers for things other than the music, it’s weird. We had a lot of drug problems in the band from day one, but, somehow, we managed to rise above that with our music and records. With the “Illusion” albums, it kinda felt that the music had submerged beneath the bullshit.

It was becoming harder and harder to deal with G N’ R on a daily basis. There was always an undercurrent that somebody could go to jail or die of an overdose. And in a big band like that, there are so many phone calls and faxes to worry about. There are so many changes every hour. It was just mind-boggling. I needed to get away and cool out.

It was the last tour that was the beginning of the end for me. We were having a lot of trouble. And I was just growing tired of it. We'd finished up the tour. We'd done America and we'd done Europe and it was time to do videos. I'm just not into the big production videos. I like to keep it real simple, which it wasn't anymore with Guns. […] It just got to the point that Axl, he was going to run the show. He was going to run Guns n' Roses. I just decided I wasn't going to be part of it, that I was going to go off and do whatever. I thought about coming back and planting some acreage [laughter].

It was a pretty tough thing. I was pushed and pulled in any number of directions. It just wasn't working out for me on any level and I couldn't seem to communicate my side of it. […] I couldn't really get through to anybody. I've known Axl a long time and I still have a lot of feelings for these guys. But I had to leave to get sane and somewhat normal. To get back to reality, I guess you could say.

Living with that kind of stuff [the circus that was GN'R] day to day takes its toll. I left because I figured there's got to be a simpler way to get through life day to day.



A LITTLE BIT OF ALL THE ABOVE


The actual reason Izzy left is likely a combination of the above:

The music had taken a back seat, there was nothing new coming from us. We didn't sit around and play acoustic guitars anymore. It was like, oh, time to go on - where's the singer? The singer walked off? Now what do we do?

We'd started out as a garage band and it became like a huge band, which was fine. But everything was so magnified... Drug addictions, personalities... it just became... too much. Plus, my friends, these guys... I'm basically watching them kill themselves. Not so much Axl, but Slash and Duff, man - these guys were on my top ten list of guys that might die this week. And I'm thinking, you know what, I just don't want to be part of it. It didn't feel like it was good.

I knew that it was the beginning of the end as soon as Steven was legally voted out for doing drugs. That from a band that spent years doing groupies and being idiots! But I did Use Your Illusion and the tour. I'd quit drinking and drugs and been through a year's probation. I had my own bus because I had a girlfriend and dogs, and there's nothing worse than waiting on somebody - their jumbo jet would sit on the runway for three hours while Axl blow-dried his hair.

Everything had become magnified - egos, drug habits, indulgence. It wasn't about music. We did fucking multi-million drama videos, like what happened to five guys playing rock n roll? Helicopters, supermodels, it was the lamest thing. The final straw was Axl, who was like Adolf, had a contract drawn up for me so he could lower me down the totem pole. It said my wages should be reduced because I didn't move about enough on-stage. When I heard that I was like, "Fuck this guy." We came from the same place, helped each other, now he thinks he's the king. I told them to do the papers so I could leave.

I had a pretty insane – I grew up kind of half-crazed. I mean, I grew up in the Midwest and, you know, we were smoking weed, we were doing all the wrong things at 16. And then it adds up over the years and, you know, you fast-forward to ’91. I’m like, “Wow, I always wanted to play in a band.” And it was like, “Oh wow, there we are on TV, CNN.” Riot in St. Louis, “Oh yeah! Riot in St. Louis, yeah.” You know, so you kind of go, “Wow!” It becomes a bit much, the whole thing.



COULDN'T HANDLE THE TOURING?


Media would report that Izzy left because he "got tired of touring" [The Indianapolis Star, July 21, 1992]. Izzy would dispute he had a problem with the touring:

I ain’t got a problem, really, with touring. I think I got a bad rap on all that, but... You know what I mean, it’s like... […] Well, I had a bus and they had a plane. And I beat them; to the gig (chuckles). [...] You get to the point where you’re like, am I gonna carry on like this or am I not, you know. And I said I’m not.

I've always loved touring. I got a bad rap from the Gunners about not wanting to tour and do videos and all that. But I've always loved traveling and I've always loved playing different places. I've lived from suitcase to suitcase since '86.


Later, Slash would also imply Izzy struggled with the touring:

His heart wasn't in being in the band by then. He lost interest a long time before he quit, and he was getting tired of being on the road.



COULDN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE?


In September Duff would say that Izzy quit because he "couldn't handle the pressure"  [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Axl would also indicate that a sober Izzy couldn't handle it the same way as before:

Then when [Izzy] got straight...I think it really has to do with what it takes to face that big audience. I wouldn't call it stage fright. It's something else, and to psyche yourself up for that, the old Guns doesn't seem to be able to do it without medication.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


Axl would later say that Izzy never wanted the band to get as big as they got and couldn't deal with the stress of large shows:

There was a lot of stress… Well, it’s basically why Izzy and these guys – I mean, none of them really wanted to do the big shows. [...] Well, from day one, Izzy always wanted to be about the size of The Ramones and do, like, 2,000 seaters. Okay? So there was always a little battle there.



A FALLOUT WITH AXL?


[Talking about strained relationships and that he]: [...] rarely saw [Axl], except of gigs. The band had a great big aeroplane, and I only rode it once, I think.


The deteriorating friendship between Izzy and Axl was a main reason for his decision to leave:

The differences of opinion were between me and Axl. I tried to resolve the problems with him before I left, but it didn’t look too promising. I’d known him for long enough to know that he was going to do things his way, and I’d end up doing things my way. We were both hard-headed in that sense.


Dizzy would later indicate that the conflict with Axl was part of the issue:

You have to understand that Izzy is one of those people that does whatever he wants. You know... when I joined the band, he sometimes... just didn't show up. Examples include during the recording of the music video for "Don't Cry" and the music video for "You Could Be Mine" at the end in the scene where the band exits the studio and sees Arnold. [...] Obviously part of the reason that Izzy left might have been the fact that he and Axl didn't get along towards the end... but thats just part of it.


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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster Sat Mar 26, 2022 10:33 am

1991-: IZZY, AFTER GUNS N' ROSES: PERSONAL LIFE; THE JUJU HOUNDS


I know that it'll follow me for a long time. Guns N' Roses are just that big. Wherever I go I bump into the band. If I put the TV on there's Axl on screen, if I go into a supermarket you can bet on the way there I'll see posters for their tours. If I put the radio on some Guns N' Roses track will be playing. We had a lot of fun together. I like remembering all the times we had together. Of course there were times when it wasn't all fun, but the good times far outweighed the bad times. Guns N' Roses was an experience that I just had to be part of.

I haven't changed anything in my personality, except that now I am no longer run by people who take advantage of me, which was the case in the recent past.

The day I left that band, you know, I was driving out of California. I got to the state line and I just felt like this big weight came off my back. I mean, I was like “Wow!” I didn’t know what the hell I was gonna do, but I just felt this big relief, and it was a lot of that; you know, I let it behind, I let it go.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

After leaving Guns N' Roses, Izzy went on a road trip, trying to figure out what to do next:

The morning after I’d decided to leave, I felt like a huge burden had just disappeared from my life. That’s the best way to describe it. I loaded up a van and went on a two-week road trip to the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, the Florida Keys and a bunch of other places. It was great to get back to everyday life, where you pump your own gas and change your own tires. It was a long overdue vacation, and I loved it.

I went on a trip across the States. I went to Grand Canyon, and New Orleans, and Florida, and I surfed and... Just, you know, I went around going, 'What will I do now?'

Yes , as if all the weight of the world was taken off my shoulders. A huge sense of relief. On the very day of my departure, I took my van, attached my bike to it, and drove to Texas. And then to Florida. The basic tourist trip. I had chills. So yeah, I felt relieved, lightweight.


Talking about his life immediately after leaving Guns N' Roses:

I did nothing, man. It was great. I went back to Indiana, I got some land, we built a quarter mile oval, I started racing flat track motorcycles... just doing, like, Indiana stuff - you know, outdoors, fun... I tried ice racing on flat track bikes and, you know, just cool stuff, just hanging out. I went back and just hooked up with all my old friends from grade school, high school.



1991: WANTED IN THE BLACK CROWES


While travelling he found out he was rumoured to replace Jett Cease, the guitarist of the Black Crowes:

When I left LA after I split from GN'R, I went on a road trip to New Orleans. From there I called my brother and he told me I'd got a fax from Rich [Robinson] in The Black Crowes. I had no idea their guitar player had split. [...] I stopped by Rich's home and he said, 'Maybe we should get together and write some songs'. I said, 'Let me take my stuff back to Indiana and get my house in order'. I love The Black Crowes, but because it was immediately after GN'R, I don't think I was ready to make any quick moves. I thought I'd just go and ride trials for a while.

We were gonna hook up and do some jammin', but it never happened, because...some other things I had to take care of, you know?

The thing is that once you've been in Guns N' Roses, probably the world's biggest band, you can't just join another band, even the Black Crowes. And if you've played with a singer like Axl Rose then it's really difficult to get used to another vocalist. I just couldn't do it.

[…] I was not so much proposed. I stopped by Rich (Robinson)'s house in Georgia, and he said if I wanted to get together with him and work on any songs or anything, then we could do that. I told him I was gonna drive back to Indiana and relax there for about a week. What happened was that I got the bike out, so I didn't really do anything with music for that period. It was too soon.


Basically, Izzy was tired of playing guitar:

I just wasn't interested in playing guitar at that time. I don't think I touched a guitar for about a month. I was getting off on riding, but, it got cold, winter came, and I was sitting in a room with a guitar in the corner and it's like, 'C'mon, play me'! Once I started playing again I thought, this is the one thing that seems to make sense.



1991-1993 - IZZY STRADLIN AND THE JUJU HOUNDS


Around December 1991 Izzy would start writing music again [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

From January [1992], the only thing I've really been doing is playing guitar. I put the bikes away because I found myself getting into music probably more than I ever have.

I started putting a band and the material together in January. I was sitting in Indiana thinking, man, how do I find musicians? I couldn't just run an ad in a local trade paper. You wanna find somebody you can relate to, and the guys I got are all seasoned, proven. […] I hooked up with Jimmy [Ashurst] in LA. I'd known him for years, when he was in The Broken Homes. Once we'd got a drummer, Charlie Quintana, we'd recorded these basic tracks, so I asked Jimmy what Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites was doing. Jimmy told me the Satellites broke up. This is how outta touch I am!

I’d always been the ultimate fan of the Georgia Satellites, my favorite band of all times. One day with Guns N’ Roses, when we were opening for I-don’t-remember-who in Georgia, I run into Rick backstage. “Hey Slash, look who’s over there, it’s my idol, Rick Richards!” I didn’t believe my eyes. I knew what the guy looked like thanks to the pictures on the sleeves of his records, but I’d never met him before. I went to tell him how big a fan I was and we had a long talk. Fast forward to 1991, I quit Guns. Six months go by and I feel the desire, the need to play again. I make a phone call to a buddy of mine in Los Angeles, Jimmy, who gives me Rick’s number. Needless to say that I called him right away. We meet again, we jam and quickly realize that the feeling is there. So the only thing that remains is to find a drummer, which we do without delay, and here I am again being a guitarist in a rock band.

I was just thinking that I was gonna race motorcycles, I was competing in Trials Bikes up until December. Then winter came and the events were over in the Midwest, 'cos it's too cold. So, there's a guitar sitting in the corner of my room, and I just looked at it and thought, 'What else am I gonna do?' I've got an 8-track recorder, so I dug that out of the garage and hooked that up. then I dragged out a drum kit and a bass guitar, and the next thing you know it's one thing leading to the next. I had a few people call me up to write songs with them. I mean, that was a big surprise. I thought, shit, I guess I could, 'cos it's not like somebody calls me up every day to work on their car.

I started writing songs again. I figured, shit, I can do a record with Geffen so I might as well do a record. I figured, man, if they sold millions of records with Guns n' Roses, y'know? I never had any major problems with anybody at the label, and I was pretty happy with the results that they'd produced. If you've got a good thing, why change?

I went back there [=to Indiana], and after about, I don’t know, 6, 12 months of just being off the radar, I hooked up with some guys out here on the West Coast again and I came back out to sunny California. I started tracking and I signed a two album solo deal with Geffen Records, and we did the Ju Ju Hounds [...]


And in the summer of 1992 it was rumored that Izzy had a new band and was working on a record to be released and a following clubs and smaller concert halls tour [Kerrang! June 6, 1992: Journal and Courier, July 21, 1992]. In August it was reported he was putting the "finishing touches" on his "first solo album" [The Akron Beacon Journal, August 23, 1992], and this he did in Copenhagen, Denmark [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

I think it took about three months… or four months…[to record the record] I’m not sure, I think three… I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but what I do remember is that at the time of recording there was a huge riot in the streets of Los Angeles (The Riots of ’91 because of the Rodney King case). I was going to the studio and the streets were on fire, and there were guys stealing and destroying things everywhere. After that we went to Chicago to record, so it must’ve been three or four months, which is very quick if you compare it with the time it took to record with Guns N’ Roses! (laughs), but not as fast as the Ramones recorded (laughs).
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

Well, I put together 12 or 13 songs, and then I hooked up with Jimmy Ashurst (bass) out in LA. He's an old buddy of mine from the mid-'80s. I called him and asked him what he was doing and he said that his band, Broken Homes, had split up so he was just hanging out in LA and working in a record store. I said that I'd got a record I was thinking about doing, and I asked him if he'd be interested. We got together, so I put all my shit back in the van and headed out to LA again.

Rick (Richards, guitar) came from the Georgia Satellites obviously, and Jimmy's got the phone numbers on everybody. When we needed a keyboard player, I asked him what he'd got under 'Keyboards'. That's how we ended up with Nicky Hopkins (who appeared on several Beatles sessions and toured with the Stones on their 'Steel Wheels' tour), he did a track. Ian MacLagan (ex-The Faces) also did some stuff. Anyway, Rick came out of that book, too. I didn't even know the Satellites had split up. Charlie (Quintana, Bob Dylan's touring drummer) had played with Broken Homes in some form or other, I don't know when.

We worked out in LA, at Total Access Studios, 'til April. I like it there 'cos it's out of the rush of Hollywood and all the usual fiasco. then we went to Chicago from there. We ended up at Chicago Recording Company, which is right by the lake. We're going back up there to start rehearsing.

I'm not really gonna try and control any of it. We'll rehearse, get a set together and set up gigs, then we'll see where it goes. I mean, it's not right for me to lay anything down on these guys, like how to live or how to play or anything.


The solo record was to be called 'Ju Ju Hounds' and was scheduled for release in October 1992, preceded by an EP that would be out in September [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Jimmy Ashhurst would later discuss whether it was a solo or band effort:

Well, at the time we were led to believe that it was a band. I mean, Izzy didn't even want his name in the title at first, but we all agreed that it would be helpful in letting people know who it was all about. We were just there to help him make a great album and to have a great time and I don't think anyone really cared what we were gonna call it. I think the albums that have been released by Izzy more recently are more representative of a "solo" effort by him, and I'm happy to see that he no longer refers to what he's doing as "Izzy and the Ju Ju Hounds". I'd like to think that it's out of respect for what we did together, but maybe it's just because he never really liked the name haha!
izzyontour.com, February 13, 2008




Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds
October 13, 1992



Describing the record and the EP:

Basically, I just wanted to get back to what really gets me off, just a basic rock 'n' roll band, a coupla guitars, drums and bass. Simple. […] The album's better, I would think, it's more mixed. The EP's just got three slammers on it, and a reggae song. The album's got a couple of acoustic songs, a coupla slammers, some basic rock tunes and one reggae song too.

The EP is a lot rougher sounding, probably a little faster. The top three songs on that (the title track and the cool Punk of 'Been A Fix' and 'Came Unglued') were the more upbeat ones. The album's got an acoustic song or two, it's got some faster stuff than 'Pressure Drop', it's a lot more varied. There's a coupla songs that I guess are a little bit reflective, it pretty much speaks for itself. There's no heavy concepts or political messages.

It was a crack up pretty much. Everybody was having a good time and it was one of those records where we'd start recording in the afternoon and work until the night. A lot of it was recorded in the daytime, which was a bit of a switch for me. It seemed natural, y'know, before the only other thing I did outside of Guns n' Roses was helping out Alice Cooper back in '88. They sent us a tape down that was 'Under My Wheels', and me and Slash and Axl played on it. Other than that I'd never really worked with outside bands or musicians. It was interesting, 'cos I got to see some different personalities and ideas.


He also took a dig at GN'R:

Listen, to sum it up, at a moment, I felt like scraping it all down to the bone. Do some rock n' roll. Stop complicating the thing with a six-piece brass band, three back up singers, the harpist and the pianist... Dizzy plays great, that's not the problem, but that's not rock n' roll... What Guns did well, and that I will always defend, is our eruption on the scene.

[The recording process] was disciplined, but relaxed. We set ourselves times when we'd start and when we'd finish. It worked really well. No stress, no chaos and nice and quiet. When I think about how we worked when I was with Guns N' Roses it was the complete opposite. It was impossible to get organised, there was always stress. It was pure chaos. The simplest conversations or situations would get turned into massive problems. It's only now that I've learnt what a little self-discipline can do. That's how we worked in the studio, we concentrated, we worked quietly and thought everything through first. Everyone knew what they wanted and what they ought to do. It was incredibly creative, friendly and kinda exciting. Nothing could be more different to the way it was in Guns N' Roses. When I look at Guns N' Roses now nothing's changed, they still stumble along on that treadmill. So what? I wish them all the best, I really mean it, but it's just not my kind of thing anymore.

I met those guys (the Stones) when we played with them, with Guns N’ Roses, in some shows. Then came the Atlantic concert where Axl and I went to play ‘Salt of the Earth’. When we were recording our album [=Juju Hounds], I found out that Ron was in the same city recording his, so I called him and said: “Hey Ron, what’s up?’ He said to me: ‘Hey, come to the studio and listen to my record’, so I went and listened to it, and said to him: ‘Listen, we’re making our album, do you want to play on it? We’re going to do one of your songs’. He said yes, came to the studio, and we did it all just in 30 minutes. We rehearsed and recorded the song very quickly. He did the first verse and I did the second. It was great. I keep calling him, if I go to England I’ll call him to see how he’s doing. I don’t know what he’s doing now, I hope he has a record ready.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Izzy would explain the name of the record: "The title of the LP came by accident in the studio. I was singing a backing track to something, and when I played it back it sounded like I said, `Ju ju hound'. It doesn't mean much really" [Kerrang! September 12, 1992].

In fact, there had been a band called "Ju Ju Hounds" playing in Hollywood in the early 80s and Alice Cooper also had a song with 'Juju' in the title:

[Interviewer saying there's an Alice Cooper son with 'Juju' in its title]: Yeah, that’s true, there’s a song by Alice Cooper that is called ‘Black Juju’, I think that it’s on ‘Killers’ (The song is really on the album ‘Love It to Death’). It’s a good song.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


After the release he planned a European club tour with most of the musicians from the album and EP: guitarist Rick Richards (ex-Georgia Satellites), bassist Jimmy Ashurst (ex-Broken Homes) and drummer Charlie Quintana [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Alan Niven, who was no managing Izzy, took a dig at GN'R who had claimed Izzy had been tired of the touring:

Statements to the effect that he's 'not into touring and videos' are completely false. Everyone knows Izzy lives to play music and travel.


Slash would be asked about Izzy's music in July:

I haven’t heard any of his new material. I know he does have a band and he’s got a record that’s gonna come out in November.


Talking about his plans:

To put out a good record and go out and do road work and keep writing and keep travelling around and that kind of thing. Oh yeah, and actually find a place to live in between all the touring. Maybe in the States or in Europe. I like both.


Being asked why the songs he wrote in GN'R sounds different to the songs on 'Juju Hounds':

Yeah, it was more of an evolution. And... ah, it's a lot to do with the... players, you know? It's a little bit different approach, I think... different sounds... you know. It's more basic I suppose.

I think the Ju Ju Hounds stuff is a little bit simpler, a little bit more basic, which is really what I like. The main and the most obvious difference, I would say, is the vocal style of Guns N’ Roses,  because I could have taken a song like Shuffle It All or Cutting the Rug into the Guns N’ Roses band and, you know, because Axl is the singer and he’s got that high screeching voice, it would have been different. I’m sure he would have wanted to add some keyboards and a lot more extra stuff to it. Whereas in the Ju Ju Hounds, we get basic tracks done, we do them live and then maybe dub a solo and some backups, and if it needs a keyboard or some shaker, that’s it. And it’s done. So it’s much more basic, this Ju Ju Hounds...


And when asked if he did anything different guitar-wise:



When he started touring they considered playing some Guns N' Roses songs, and even rehearsed some [Star Tribune, February 26, 1993]:

I've thought about it, it might be a good idea. I'll wait and see what the hecklers are yelling. I do know we're not gonna be doing 'Welcome To The Jungle', though,


But in the end decided that it didn't sound right:

It didn’t feel right at all, so we ended up leaving it behind. […] I know some people want to hear it. Guns N’ Roses is touring America this year so if they really want to see it, they should see it with Axl singing it.


Jimmy Ashhurst would look back at the touring and working with Izzy, and talk about the ominous sign of having to cancel some Australian shows in late 1992 because Izzy got sick but refused to take prescription medicine:

I'm looking forward very much to getting out traveling again. When you do that with a band unfortunately you never seem to have enough time in the places you like, and the places you hate seem to always surround you when you end up with time off! I try to just keep mental notes of places I'd like to visit again someday when I have more time. That was another cool thing about working with Izzy. We both shared a sort of wanderlust...an appreciation for foreign cultures and a desire to seek out strange places, off the beaten track of tourism. He and I would take off together sometimes with the excuse that we were gonna "write songs" ahha...we actually would do though...sometimes. I truly loved the time we spent working with the band in Trinidad and Tobago. We were there long enough to really get a sense of the place, and both Izzy and I share a passion for the Caribbean. We had a cool studio there booked and were able to ride around on motorbikes and spend a lot of time at the beach...not a real conducive environment for working though! I loved Australia as well. Having grown up in Europe, Naples, Italy to be exact, I had already visited most of that continent as a kid. I started backpacking around Europe at around 14 or 15 years old, so for me it was more familiar. The places that were new to me were the South Pacific and South America, both places I'm very much looking forward to going back to. I think I remember having had to cut our Australian trip short for some reason...I think he had caught some kind of tropical fever, and he refuses to take any kind of prescription medicine so it just got worse and worse until we were forced to cancel a bunch of shows. I remember that sort of being an indication of things to come. When we first started the band I remember talking with him about how shitty it was for GnR to have cancelled so many of their shows, and how hard that must have been on the fans. We discussed how we would never do that if it could be avoided, and so when we started to I sort of started to have some bad feelings, I saw it as sort of a bad omen.
ChopAway.com, June 2005


Then, in 1993, some US shows were cancelled and much later Ashhurst would be confronted with the story that it was caused by Izzy having a bad throat:

A bad throat? Is that what is was? haha...
izzyontour.com, February 13, 2008


In September 1993, Izzy was asked about his plans as a musician and he would indicate that he didn't have a lot of ambition:

Part-time job (laughs). [...] It’s just a bad habit or something. I don’t know. The career thing no, definitely not, because, I mean, it’s sort of iffy. It’s such a questionable existence, really, to be a musician. I mean, there’s just so many people that play that there’s no way they can make a living doing it. I’m sure there’s a lot of people in California, like when Guns N’ Roses first started. So many bands, so many people and they disappear each year, they disappear and disappear. But, at the same time, when we started that was the only thing that we were gonna do, so I guess instead of calling it a career it was just that it was our life at that time. But nowadays I don’t take it that seriously like that. I just look at it like, you know, I’m fortunate because people are interested to a point, so we can come to Japan and play some shows, and it’s great. [...] I just don’t take it as serious as I used to. It’s not a life or death thing like it used to be.


Looking back at the Juju Hounds record:

I like it. I heard it again a few weeks ago and I like it. There are some songs that I like a lot, and I love the sound of the keyboards. That’s the reason why I went back to having Ian McLagan again for this new album, because after listening to them I thought that I had to get back that keyboard sound.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



1993: IZZY DISAPPEARS


In 1995, Slash would imply that Izzy had abandoned his band:

Izzy, obviously, is doing doughnuts in Indiana somewhere. His own band doesn't even know where he is.


Izzy would explain that he decided to have some fun outside of music:

We had toured a lot with the Ju Ju’s, almost a year-and-a-half altogether, and when we took a break, I started realizing what I had accomplished with Guns: “We’ve sold a shitload of records, we’ve made lots of cash. When I think of my situation ten years ago, when I was starving and didn’t live off my music yet, I say to myself that I’ve now earned the right to enjoy life.” Suddenly I wanted to laugh, to have some fun. So I called my buddies – always the same ones since high school. We rented a track excavator and traced out a big auto/moto racetrack on a fallow field that I’d bought. Then we spent the summer driving like crazy and having a blast. We did nothing other than fool around and eat up the miles (laughs).


And in 2005, Dizzy would also imply that Izzy had continued his flakiness from his GN'R days into Juju Hounds:

I mean... about the Ju Ju Hounds... I have a friend who was the guitarist for that band back in the early 90s and he was always complaining about how Izzy would just not show up for shows.


And in 2005, Jimmy Ashhurst would talk about what had happened and express bitterness over Izzy ending Juju Hounds:

I went through a really tough period that quite realistically almost killed me. I was seriously involved in drugs, specifically heroin, and that whole lifestyle and was ready to let it all go for awhile. I had lost the band I loved more than anything due to reasons beyond my control and beyond my comprehension really. I couldn't figure out what Izzy's reasons for bailing out were, and whether or not I could have done anything different to have prevented it. We had had so many conversations about whether or not the Ju Ju Hounds were really a band, as opposed to just a solo project, and he had reassured me time after time that it indeed was, and that we were gonna grow old playing together and putting out records in our own time and at our own pace. For me looking to put together a band is the most painful process in music. It just gets more and more difficult as time passes, and I was so happy to know that I would never have to do that again. There are only a handful of players on the planet who seem to understand this kind of music...I mean really understand it and who can play it...and just about all of 'em are involved in great bands already. What we had was the perfect combination of players and leverage in the business. Izzy already had a reputation and a great dedicated fanbase...its not like we had to start from scratch, y'know? I still have a hard time understanding how he could have just thrown it into the toilet and let his friends down like that.
ChopAway.com, June 2005


Ashhurst would say more about being in a band with Izzy when he compared it to Buckcherry:

It took me over ten years to even consider joining another band. I think the main difference is that if something were to happen with the band I'm in now - if someone were to not want to continue - that person have enough respect for the other band members to sit us all down and to explain to all of us the reasons WHY they didn't want to continue. They would do it at an appropriate time, if they could, and they would try their best to make sure they gave enough notice so that the other guys would have time to make other arrangements to take care of their families . They wouldn't do it right IN THE MIDDLE of recording an album in a foreign country, with a top name producer and band members waiting... and they absolutely wouldn't simply walk out the door one day to never come back with no explanation whatsoever. It just a human thing, respect. It doesn't matter who you are or how famous and/or rich you become. There's a proper way to go about working with others, especially people you've spent so much time with and with whom you've had so many wonderful experiences. The guys I'm working with now would give me or anyone else in the band that respect, no matter what. It took almost ten years for me to get over that experience, and it almost killed me in the process. I can finally look at things a little more objectively than I could for sooo long. I knew going into the relationship that he was a little unpredictable, I guess I was just a little naive in thinking that he would never have done that to me. I would have taken a bullet for that guy and for anyone in that band. ANYTHING that was bothering him could have been easily resolved with a conversation, and even if it couldn't have - at least we deserved to be told what was going to happen. Theres a human way of doing things...and then apparently there's Izzy's way of doing things...and that's just, unfortunate.
izzyontour.com, February 13, 2008


At some point, Izzy's former bandmates in the Juju Hounds even considered continuing the band without him:

I think at the time that we were considering that, Rick and I were just looking for any excuse to get together and play. I remember speaking to some Spanish promoter who was trying to convince me that there were enough fans there to warrant a trip over, and both Rick and I would have loved to get together and play any songs together, especially those ones. I don't think we really thought it through too much at the time. Looking back on it it probably would have been a bit disappointing for Izzy fans...I mean to see us and hear the songs without Izzy probably wouldn't have gone over too well. I'm glad we didn't do it now.
ChopAway.com, June 2005


And explaining why Izzy doesn't need anyone else:

If we were ever to reunite as a band I would be the happiest guy on the planet...we're still my favorite band, by far. I just don't know if the issues that Izzy and I have with each other will ever be resolved. In order to make up with someone you have to first be able to speak to them, and to do that you need to first know where the hell they are. Guys like that can be hard to deal with. They just don't need you. He can go on and do whatever it is he's doing just fine without me, and he doesn't seem to realize that sometimes a certain group of individuals, when working together, can create something that's irreplaceable...that can't be done on your own. He's got the money, and obviously doesn't see what so many people who love him do, and there's nobody in his life who will risk their friendship with him by telling him the truth. He's always been surrounded by "yes" people, and whenever someone pops up with a dissenting opinion, he can just disappear and replace that person with someone who's more agreeable. Life must be very easy that way. Sometimes I'm jealous...but most of the time...not.
ChopAway.com, June 2005



STAYING ON THE NARROW PATH


Izzy was also keeping sober:

Yeah , basically, the only thing that seemed to give me major problems in my life were drugs and alcohol. But now I've been clean for two-and-a-half years.


By early 2000s Izzy was still sober and healthy:

Since I quit drinking, I haven’t been in jail once. I think there may be a connection.



1993-1994: A NOMAD EXISTENCE


After the last Ju Ju Hounds tour [=which ended in September 1993], I put away my guitars and, for a year, I drove cars and rally motorcycles in races in Indiana. When I go back, I don’t miss a single race and, even on TV, I watch it religiously. Music is cool, but…
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

From 1985 to 1991 I traveled constantly, spending most of my time in hotels. Then we went all over the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia with the Ju Ju Hounds. It becomes a lifestyle. You feel this forward movement, and you gotta keep it going.


In 1998 it would be reported that Izzy had lived in different places around the world: "England, Trinidad, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark and Sweden" [Los Angeles Daily News, March 20, 1998].

I went back to Indiana. At that point I was absolutely fed up with the whole music thing. I was just bored. I had to do something else. So I went over to Madrid and started looking for a place.

I toured a little everywhere to promote the album [=JuJu Hounds]. Then I moved to the Barcelona area for a few months, to get away from everything; no phone, no management, no record label... Then I went to Copenhagen, and then I finally came back to Indiana... Woah, I don't remember everything, but I traveled a lot actually.


The place he found in Spain was a house without a phone in Palafrugell, and he lived there for four months in 1993 or 1994:

That was a little tough. It got to where I had this uncontrollable urge to send a fax or something.

One day Rolling Stones played in Indiana and I was backstage with Keith Richards. I told Keith that I was homeless. He thought it was funny and laughed: 'Ah, a man without a home'.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish

I was living on the coast for four months. After the first album, in ’93 or ’94, I believe. I was looking for a new place to live and I was on the coast of Spain, in Palagrugell, in a house I rented. I had a great time, I enjoyed it a lot. And I like Barcelona a lot. I was there… I have a friend who lives in Barcelona, he’s a promotor, I don’t know if you would know him. I loved playing there, one of the best parts of the tour was the show in Barcelona.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

Then I lived in Spain for a few months, in a small, isolated village without phone, without fax, without a computer. Plain life and nothing else. That was in 1994, I think.


Despite this nomad existence, he would claim Indiana had been his home base since 1988 when he moved back there [BAM, 1998]


1994: SETTLING IN LAFAYETTE, INDIANA


Izzy didn't think Keith Richards comment was particularly funny so he and his wife Annika (whom he married in 1991), after a few months in Spain [Press Kit for 117 Degrees, January 1998] moved into a house in his old hometown of Lafayette, Indiana [Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998] on 1994 [Classic Rock, June 2001].

My adolescence was just like Beavis & Butthead. In the town, a t-shirt with the text 'Lafayette - the all American city' is being sold. A friend usually says that it ought to say 'Lafayette - the all American city, bring your own fun'. There's absolutely nothing to do there.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


There Izzy would take up racing:

We started out racing bikes, these specialized models. But then we moved onto cars - old BMW 2002s and Alfa Romeo GTVs from the '70s. You can pick them up pretty cheaply and they run real well. Racing is a great tension release.

I'm crazy about driving fast, shouts Izzy. Next year I'm going to start driving amateur rally and hopefully follow the Paris-Dakhar in place.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish

We bought this old road grader over the phone - sight unseen. It had no brakes and leaked, but it had the big blade and we just went around in circles and made the track. We started out racing bikes, theses specialezed models. But then we moved on to cars. It was a generally a 'run what ya brung' setup. I started getting into the old BMW 2002s and Alfa Romeo GTVs. They're from the 70s. You can pick 'em up pretty cheaply, maybe $1,500 for the beaters, and they run real well. They were endurance races, just for fun. I've always been into anything motorized. Racing is a great tension release.


And motor cycles:

As soon as I became sober I bought a Harley and I have been addicted ever since. I don't drive for escaping something, but because it's fun. I love the movement and the freedom.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


In 1996, when asked what Izzy was up to, Duff would answer:

Izzy is racing Porches up in the desert. He's cool.


In 1998, Izzy would describe what success meant to him:

A day off to ride my motorcycle. That's as simple as it gets. That's my idea of fun: being successful enough so I can have a day off to ride my motorcycle.



1995 - : THE JUJU HOUNDS AGAIN?


At some point after the first Ju Ju Hounds tour that ended in 1993, Izzy started working on a follow-up album. Parts of the album was recorded while Izzy was on extended stays in England and Trinidad [Press Kit for 117 Degrees, January 1998]. But for unknown reasons this record was never released, possibly due to a break with Jimmy Ashhurst [see above]. Some of the songs did end up on 117 Degrees.

In 2002 Izzy was asked if an unreleased Juju Hounds record existed:

Nothing i know of is unreleased [...]


In 2011, Jimmy Ashhurst would talk about wanting to tour with JuJu again:

[...] from my perspective I find that (The Ju Ju Hounds) as having been a great experience and I find it hard to understand why you wouldn’t want to do 5 or 10 cities in the world to make a lot of people happy It’s not that difficult and if you don’t want to do press, then, don’t do press! He could pretty much make it under his own terms. So, for a guy like me who enjoys touring – I find it difficult to understand. [...] I haven’t heard from Izzy, which is to be expected – I barely heard from him when we were together! (laughs). He’s a private guy. After touring as long as I have, I understand his position all these years ago clearly. But that’s our fundamental difference of opinion. Why wouldn’t you want to go out there and make a lot of people happy? That’s what this (music) is all about. [...] I actually tried to get a message to him. I said ‘If you do it, I’ll pay my own way. It’s not going to cost you a dime.’ I’ll reiterate that now. If he wanted to do it, it wouldn’t cost him. I certainly wouldn’t take any money for doing it. It would be fantastic.
RockAAA, July 1, 2011



MOVING BACK TO LOS ANGELES


I sold my house [in Indiana], now I live in Los Angeles. I did it because I had that yard with all that grass and I never cut it. When you live in a house that has grass, you have to take care of it and I didn’t, so it was a complete disaster. Although I’m thinking of coming back to Europe. I like southern Europe, I like Spain. All of southern Europe.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



FEBRUARY 2003: IZZY SUES BIG FD MANAGEMENT AND LAWYERS


In February 2003, Izzy would sue his and Guns N' Roses' former managers (Big FD) and lawyers [Blabbermouth, February 25, 2003]. After Izzy had left Guns N' Roses he had continued to pay his managers as per an agreement, but was supposed to stop paying them when Slash and Duff left the band; this had not happened and in the suit he demanded the commission of $231,575 that had accrued to be paid back to him [Blabbermouth, February 25, 2003].


MARCH-DECEMBER 2004: DO YOU LOVE ME? WITH STEVEN


In March 2004 the admin of Steven's official fansite, Brooke Ellis, would report that Steven had been recording with Izzy:

Steven flew back to LA last night where he was picked up at LAX by none other than Izzy Stradlin! Izzy invited his former bandmate to collaborate on some new music. The plan is to record two songs, possibly to be included on Izzy's next release. I hope to have more info for you asap!

Steven returned from LA with a CD-R featuring two songs of his collaboration with Izzy! One new original song, and a cover of the classic oldie, “Do you Love Me?”. Izzy’s friend JT flew in from Texas. He plays bass on the tracks and he also engineered the session. Izzy took the lead vocal duty and Steven contributed backing vocals. The songs were recorded at Izzy’s home on his digital 8 track. They did about five takes of each song, and Steven was surprised when JT complimented him by saying, “Dude, you are an amazing drummer!” Steven says the recording sounds "fucking great!" and would like to send the tracks to some radio stations, most likely those in Europe. Also, the three of them plan to return in April to record five more songs!


On December 24, 2004, the cover of "Do You Love Me" was released on Steven's website.

Ellis would later talk about how this collaboration happened:

Izzy and Steven had been hanging out a lot. Izzy invited Steven to his place in Arizona for a few days, and Izzy recorded and mixed it on his small 8 track studio. My site was the one that offered it as a download. It was given to me specifically. But then a buddy of mine told me I might need to be concerned about some legal issues, so it was only up for like a day! Now, everyone is taking credit for getting it out there.
MetalShrine, March 2005



APRIL 2004: PLAYING WITH THE NEW YORK DOLLS


In April 2004 it would be reported that Izzy was to take Johnny Thunders guitar spot in a one-show resurrection of The New York Dolls at the London's Meltdown Festival [Brave Words, April 10, 2004]. David Johansen, singer in the New York Dolls would explain:

Izzy’s a sharp guy, and he broke his teeth on our tunes, so I think he’ll do a really good job. I don’t want to have to turn this thing into marathon rehearsals for just one show — hopefully everyone will do their homework and we can all just get together and throw it on the stage.

Do you know that Izzy’s gonna be Johnny Thunders? The Dolls are doing a reunion next month… [...] Izzy just… he called me and he goes, (does Izzy imitation) “You’ll never believe, I got this call today, man… from Johansen… and, uh, he wants to do… they’re gonna do a Dolls reunion, and, uh, they want me to be Thunders… and, yeah, it’s like, wow…” ”So I learned the record, and, uh, yeah, uh, I got it down… and this should be a blast man!”


But in May it was reported that Izzy had backed out when he learned that that plans existed for the band to do additional dates, a prospect that would have required Izzy to learn more of the group's catalogue and to dedicate more of his time [Blabbermouth, May 5, 2004].


PERSONAL LIFE


Izzy has always protected his private life but in an interview in 2006 he would reveal he had a girlfriend whose daughter was 14 at the time [TuneCore Podcast, November 12, 2006]. In June 2007, he would mention having picked up painting:

I've been painting since January, acrylic to canvas, lots of different things... and I have five paintings I wanted to share with fans.......... I'm gonna send you rough photos....unclipped or cut..... i was thinking of starting a site of some kind to post up artwork from anybody who cares to send it in: fans, musicians, anyone! "Garage Art" maybe?! .....Cheers, Izzy


Izzy would do less and less interviews:

In the recent years I’ve limited myself to releasing one record every year with iTunes, and I don’t do any interviews.


And talking about being an ex-GN'R member:

It’s hilarious when I’m going to a store to buy cords for my guitar, and the young employee tries to sell me a Les Paul guitar with Slash’s name on it. (Laughter) The guy asks me: "Have you seen the new Slash Les Paul?" I say "No," and he says to me: "Oh, we just got five today!" (laughter)

At some point in the mid-'80s I heard a song of mine on the radio and that was when I felt that something important had happened. Even now, sometimes I hear songs that I wrote and recorded in the '80s on the radio, and I say to myself, "Wow, incredible, there I am, but I was still just a teenager who just wanted to play guitar."


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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster Sat Mar 26, 2022 6:30 pm

NOVEMBER 1991-MAY 1993
IZZY AND GUNS N' ROSES AFTER THE SPLIT


Izzy leaving the band was a big shock to the band and fans alike. The fallout from the band members telling their side of what happened to the media affected the relationship between Izzy and his previous band members for a long time.

In March 1992 it seems like the split was permanent, because Slash would indicate that they probably weren't going to be working together after all:

I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Izzy. That’s a personal kind of a situation in a way, cuz of course, you know, we’ve been together for a long time, and him and Axl’s known each other for a long time. We went through a lot of stuff together. But he basically just wasn’t interested in doing it anymore for whatever reasons [that] are basically unknown. I mean, I have my ideas, and Axl has his ideas and Duff as well, so... It’s like, the songs that he wrote on this record, a lot of them the band really had to work up to make them sound the way that they do. Maybe he didn’t want them to sound that way, I’m not really sure. So as far as writing songs in the future, I just figure, you know, the three of us are gonna do what we’re gonna do. I don’t know if we’re gonna keep working with Gilby or not, because we’re just touring right now doing songs that have already been recorded. And as far as the relationship with Izzy goes, if it doesn’t happen, obviously we’re not gonna, like, go, “We can’t write songs anymore,” because obviously we’ve written a lot of songs without him, and so....


And when asked if he was still in contact with Izzy:

No, I don’t think we’re a real good – you know, in a good way as far as a relationship goes, but it is a time-will-tell thing.


Axl would talk about being angry with Izzy, also because Izzy had decided to continue working with Alan Niven:

I'm angry with him because he left in a very shitty way, and he tries to act like everything's cool. He put his trust in people that I consider my enemies. People like (former G n' R manager) Alan Niven, who I think is his manager now. I don't need Alan Niven knowing jack shit about Guns n' Roses. Everybody has a lot of good and bad, and with Alan, I just got sick of his fucking combo platter. It's like "If you're involved with these people, we can't talk to you."

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. […] There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.


During a call-in interview on Rockline in July, Slash was asked if Izzy would contribute to songwriting in the future, to which Slash replied:

I’m gonna talk to [Izzy] tomorrow about some of the so-called logistics having to do with the situation that we’re dealing with, so we’ll take it from there.


In July 1992 Slash would say he had just met Izzy for the first time since the break-up:

I saw him for the first time here in New York. We met in a neutral place, a neutral hotel. And it was great, because there’s so much red tape and so much politics involved, that you don’t communicate at all as people. You go through, you know, management calls so and so and so and so, calls the accountants, messages go back and forth. Everything snowballs and you get to a point where it’s so out of hand, this whole split. I can admit that we, like, hated Izzy, because he wouldn’t deal with us directly, he didn’t quit directly. You know, he sent a memo, a letter of resignation to the accountants and to the management, so we were just like, “You know, where you...?” You know, cuz that felt closer than that. But there was a lot of stuff in the way that this band has evolved, that has gone on emotionally, technically as far as business is concerned, the whole stature of it just being sort of overbearing, and all that. So we got a chance to actually talk about a lot of the personal things that we felt in all of this, you know, sort of Guns N’ Roses hype, and hysteria, and all that; because, as band members, we never felt like a part of it, it was always what was built up around us. And it got to a point where he didn’t want to be involved in the amount of work that it took and the amount of stress, and energy, and sleepless nights that took to keep it going so that it didn’t fall apart. So he just bailed and we took that really personally. But having seen him recently, it was nice. I missed the guy, you know. It was nice to actually see him. And we talked about how we want to make this a clean break without going to court, without having to make it, you know, insanely public and bicker back and forth in the press; which is really easy, because attorneys can send out letters and they print them in the press, and then we, you know, the band or the members of the band, see it and go, “How can he say that?” and it’s really not what came out of his mouth. And that builds up after a while and then you tend to misjudge somebody altogether. I mean, as long as he’s happy it’s cool, as long as we have an amicable split on the technical side, then everything will be fine. […] It was a lot more personal than what we’ve been dealing with over the last year. […] there was things that we disagreed on. You know, we disagreed on a lot of stuff all the way through this. But at least we could talk about it as friends and as people, as opposed to...[…] You know, through black and white, and all the logistics that the perception the people that work around us get in the way that they communicate. […]  the wounds I guess have healed at this point. I mean, we’ve just gone on to do what Guns was planning on doing and he’s gonna do his own thing. And so we don’t really give a shit at this point, you know. […] we had a great time. We, sort of like, took all the fax papers, sort of put it aside, and just talked amongst each other […].


Izzy would also mention the meeting with Slash but that he still hadn't resolved things with Axl:

Since [leaving], I've talked to Slash once, about a week ago in New York, and, uh, the last time I saw Axl there were a lotta harsh words - from him - so I kinda left it alone. I called him once after that, we talked for about a half hour, so I'm kinda wailing for him to call me back to discuss the things that we haven't really resolved.


That phone call with Axl took place in December 1991:

I called him up, said, 'Hey, you still pissed off?' 'No, I'm not pissed off.' Things were okay. But then time went by, and he got pissed off again.

We haven't talked to each other for seven or eight months. Actually, we did. Two weeks ago I was in New York and I bumped into Slash. Of course, he was furious. Well... We finally talked a little bit, just him and me. That was cool!

I would have rather met with Axl. But I guess Slash was 'designated diplomat.' He was as apprehensive as I felt, so it felt pretty good. Then the next thing I heard was on MTV in Europe: 'Izzy's forgiven, and he's doing a reggae album.' So I don't know what it actually accomplished.


Talking about the split:

I mean, now [Izzy leaving is] okay, because it worked out good for everybody. It worked out good for Izzy because he's gonna make his own record. He really wasn't happy anymore being in the band, therefore if he wasn't happy, they weren’t happy, and now they've got someone who is. Now they can tour and not worry about problems. Now they can make videos and not worry. […] I mean, you know, he never really wanted to be in the world's biggest rock band. He was always kind of like a club kind of rock guy. You know it just didn't go where he wanted it to go. So everybody's got to do what they wanted to do. Hopefully, it'll work great for both sides.

Losing both Izzy and Steven were the biggest tests we could possibly face. Because we're such a tight family, losing two members was really traumatic - yet we somehow survived. That was the be-all, end-all obstacle. As Spinal Tap as it may seem, we are still real people, and it was incredibly personal. […] Nothing phases me now - even this postponed tour with Metallica. It's just a period and we'll move on. The key is not to go crazy. Believe me, this situation is nothing compared to losing Izzy. That was heavy. That's why I'm not freaking out.
Guitar World, November 1992 (interview from August)


When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.


In the October issue of RIP Axl would again talk about Izzy leaving and how he felt, and indicate that he felt Izzy's working with Alan Niven as a particular betrayal:

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user. There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.


The same moth, Izzy would talk about his relationship with Axl:

I wouldn’t say that we were big friends these days, but I’ve known [Axl] for too long to carry any grudges or resentment. […] I feel good about having been in that band and done some of that music and some of those tours, and I don’t have any permanent scars. I’m still able to keep my balance on a skateboard!


In October 1992, Rolling Stone Magazine would publish an in-depth interview with Izzy where he would indicate any bad feelings between him and his former band mates were over:

I don't have any communication with them. I don't know what they do anymore. About the most I know about them is when I watch CNN once in a while: 'Oh, shit, Axl got arrested again.' […] Still, I like to think that those guys are all my friends. It's not like I never want to see them again. The channels are very much open.


One of the more creative questions interviewers came up with, was whether Izzy would donate bone marrow to save Axl's life:

What, you mean if he had an accident? Uh, if he was gonna die I’d give him a little bone marrow. A little. We could work something out!


Axl on the other hand wasn't so gracious, and would continue to bash Izzy from stage. In November 1992 Izzy would give his thoughts on this:

I've heard [Axl]'s still slinging mud. I can't take it personally, because if it wasn't me, it would just be somebody else. Somebody's gonna get it in every city. There's nothing I can do about it. When I left the band, he got real pissed off, told me to get off his property. When I talked to him a couple weeks later, he said he wasn't still mad, but who knows? I've left him all my phone numbers since December, and he still hasn't called. When he's ready, he'll call and we'll talk.

Axl only seems to say bad shit about me. I don't know why he does. Maybe he was just having a bad day. I haven't seen or heard from those guys in a while. I spoke with Slash in New York not so long ago. We talked for like two hours and it was great.


Izzy and Slash would also talk about having played together:

I don't think he really wanted another guitar player, but it was kind of a package deal, Axl and I. We had periods where we actually wrote songs together and worked out our parts. […] He was like a brother, but a brother who really wanted to be out on his own.

Even though the band always sounded cool, Izzy and I never sat down together and worked out guitar parts. We weren't really a team, in that sense. We would just jam, and he'd play things his way and I'd play things my way.


In 1995, Slash would go in more depth on this:

I started out as a one-guitar guy but I ended up being involved with a two-guitar band because I was forced to work with Izzy. Actually Izzy and I have a real natural relationship – it wasn't pre-conceived at all. It just sort of fell into place and I did my thing and Izzy did his and somehow or another we complemented each other. It wasn't supposed to be a two-guitar approach – he was on his side and I was on my side and the end result was completely different guitar players that happened to mesh. There were songs I would have done differently, like 'Welcome To The Jungle'. I really wanted it to sound a certain way and when I listen to it now, I still cringe sometimes. Because I hear this "tink tinkatink tink tinkatink" (Izzy's part) and I just want to hear the riff. For some reason there was interaction but it wasn't conscious. […] So, because I had to work with Izzy, Guns is now a two-guitar band. Duff always goes, "What do we need another guitar player for?" and I go, "Well, because..."

But the only reason Guns had two guitars was because Izzy and Axl came as a package deal. (Eddie van Halen cackles.) I had a band called Road Crew and I couldn’t find a singer. Singers are the hardest thing to find.


And:

Gilby and I probably like each other a lot more than Izzy and I did. I think that's probably it. When Gilby and I write together, if there's a riff, I learn what he's playing and I make up another version of it. In a higher key or something. It's easy because there's no conflict of interest, no ego challenge. With Izzy, I would write stuff that was too complicated for him to play; or Izzy would write a song that was so easy for me to play it was boring. But Izzy's got a natural rock feel and people talk about, "Oh, there's Izzy and there's Keith." And I'm like, "There's Keith and then there's Izzy who could be Keith if he worked at it." They do have the same approach to guitar – open chords and a lot of rhythm. But at the same time Izzy doesn't have enough of a grasp of a guitar neck to make it sound as smooth and natural as Keith does.


In late 1992 Izzy would indicate that he would be careful about what he said about his former band mates, implying a future litigation:

Well... I mean, I gotta leave some of it alone because there are still some unresolved issues with those guys. But it's natural, everybody's gonna wanna know what happened. […]

Just over a period of time, it became obvious to me that I needed to change something in my life. Me leaving the band was the change I needed. It was a big step, but man, it was for the better. Now that I can look back on it, being in Guns N' Roses was complete insanity. Don't get me wrong, there were some great times I had with that band. We had some good gigs and t think some of our songs were okay... I really liked being in G'N'R when you could go grab a beer in some bar after a show and hang out with the guys without being swamped by a thousand 'new friends', you know?

Towards the end we had to send our runners and security guys to go get our beers while we were barricaded in some hotel room, and that ain't living, it's not a whole lotta fun. I think these days Axl even has somebody to open the beer can for him. I don't know, I'm joking of course, but it got a lot like that. Those guys, especially Slash and Axl, are being protected from the outside world now. Even if they wanted, the powers controlling the band wouldn't allow them to go grab a beer in a local bar.


In early 1993, though, he would claim to be on "good terms with all the guys in the band" but that he hadn't seen much of Axl who "is pretty insulated with lots of bodyguards and security" [The Boston Globe, February 5, 1993].

There’s no animosity on my part. After you go through so much with people, it’s hard to say these guys aren’t my friends anymore.

There still is none on my part. For them, there might have been initially when I left. But I'm sure it's like anything else. Life goes on and you gotta carry on.

Duff tried calling me here last night at like 4 in the morning, but I was sleeping. I got the message this morning. I saw  Slash in New York last January and I talked to Matt. […] I haven't talked to Axl since December of '91, but I’m sure he's been busy. But I’ve left the doors open if they want to call or anything like that. No animosity on my part.

[About Duff calling him at 3am]: We'll always have that relationship. We went through a lot. It's like being Army buddies or going through drug rehab together. [chuckles] It was a rocket ride. But am I bitter? Nah. It's too short for that.


Duff would confirm that he had no issues with Izzy leaving, saying his reasons were "very valid", and that he had been the first to contact Izzy after his departure, but also that he didn't miss him as a band member:

l miss Izzy. We lucked out with Gilby. Gilby was the first guy we tried out. Izzy left on very amicable terms speak for myself, okay -- nothing against lzzy, but I don't miss him in the band anymore. Gilby has more than filled Izzy's shoes.

I’ve never had a problem with Izzy. Izzy and I are very amicable and always have been. He had his reasons, and they were very valid. I’m not one to go, Fuck you, man!’. […] I could tell he was just miserable. I knew it wasn’t his bag, and it was killing him. He was all clean and sober, and no way I would’ve wanted to have any part in making him stay in the band, and driving him back to whatever he was doing. So, between him and me there was never a problem.


In March 1993, Slash would say the following about Izzy:

Sometimes I miss [Izzy], but the major part of his personality I don’t miss. After the whole drug thing was over, he and I — probably being the worst of the band as far as that goes — both sort of quit at the same time, give or take a month. Then there were major changes and Izzy became less involved with the band. He took that different road where he could never be around anybody who had done it (drugs).


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:41 pm

1991-PRESENT
IZZY ON REUNITING WITH GUNS N' ROSES; RELATIONSHIP WITH AXL AND HIS FORMER BAND MATES


Now, I can't imagine doing Guns N' Roses. I still talk to Duff once a week, I talked to Slash yesterday - I actually saw Steven Adler for lunch three days ago, which was… a trip! And other than the singer, we still all talk, so it would be easy for us to go in the studio and make music. It's only the singer - he's the only square peg in a round hole!


Izzy being asked what would happen if Chinese Democracy flopped and Axl called him up to ask him to rejoin the band:

I could hear the call. 'You know, I've been, ah, thinking'. He talks really slow when he gets an idea like that. 'Aahhh, I've been thinking...' And I'd be thinking, 'He must be broke' [chuckling] That's how I imagine the call would go.


And on whether he would do it:

Yeah, why not? [chuckling] A [one-off] gig would be easy, I'd think. […] It's funny cos like me, Duff and Slash - we could go in and make a Guns N' Roses record in a week. basic tracks. [But] vocals and leads [instrumentation] could take God knows how long...

If he called me I would tell him: we're going to talk to Slash and Duff and make some good music, I think that it would be good. […] Only with the original formation, or at least with Slash and Duff, I couldn't do it any other way.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


Around the same time Izzy also did another interview where he stated that Axl had indeed asked him to rejoin the band before the Rock in Rio concert in January 2001 [see later section].

In 2008, after having toured with the band in 2006, Izzy was asked if he would consider doing a reunion:

Yes, of course. I wrote a great deal of that material.



RELATIONSHIP WITH AXL


As discussed previously, Izzy had reconnected with Axl in 1995 but then had a fallout on the phone [see previous section].

We're still pretty good friends. The only guy that doesn't call anyone is Axl. I don't know what his problem is.

[…] I see Duff from time to time because he lives up there in LA. The others, I run into them… Slash, I see him once a month. We made a song called “Ocean” for his record, but it wasn’t kept. No, the only one I haven’t seen in ages is Axl, but he never calls anyone... who knows? Maybe one day.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French


Then in late 1999 Izzy had tried to visit Axl's home but not been let in [see later section]. Lastly, Izzy would claim that before the Rock In Rio show in January 2001, Axl had asked Izzy to rejoin Guns N' Roses [see later section].

In mid-2001, Izzy would talk about he was on good terms with everybody except Axl:

I am still in contact with almost everybody. A few days ago, I was talking to Slash and Duff. I've seen Steven as well! Steven Adler our drummer. I've seen him for the first time in five years, we had lunch together last week. The only one with who I don't have any contact with is that fucking singer. Every two or three years, I take my phone, call GNR management, and I leave him a message: "Hi, dude, it's Izzy, looking for some news, here is my number, call me back..." Never had any answers, he lives in his own world...
Guitar Part (France), June 2001; translated from French

I talked to them on the phone three days ago. I even had lunch with Steven last week. He's sober today, but he's damaged mentally and physically. Slash is doing fine. Duff is doing great: he just took part in the fucking Hawaii marathon! A marathon for God's sake! Not bad for a guy whose pancreas exploded because he drank 3.5 liters of vodka a day! He's in my band actually, it's really cool. The only one who doesn't speak to anyone is Axl. He doesn't call people back.

I still talk to Slash, certainly with Duff, and I saw Steve, our former drummer last month...I talk a whole world less with the singer.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


Yet, he would still claim to be friends with Axl:

[…] we're still friends, we just don't talk to each other (laughs) you know? Every two years I call him and leave messages at the office that he never returns...
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


After having played with Axl and the new version of Guns N' Roses in 2006, Izzy would be asked if he and Axl had patched things up between themselves before these shows:

See, I’ve known him for so many years that there's a familiarity between us. We grew up in the same place, the same atmosphere, and I believe that part of our friendship will always be there.


When asked if Axl is as problematic as he seems:

Axl is a very complicated guy, but very talented.




RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FORMER BAND MATES


As described in others chapters, after leaving Guns N' Roses in 1991 Izzy and Guns N' Roses had a conflicted relationship; but later Izzy collaborated extensively with Duff, played with Slash and Matt in the precursor to Velvet Revolver, and reconnected and played with Axl and his latest version of Guns N' Roses:

And now we’re all still friends. I talk to all these guys every week or two. We’re all still good friends.

Slash, Duff, Matt and even Steven Adler, we all call each other from time to time, and sometimes we see each other in Los Angeles or wherever. We all have very good relationships. We're still friends.

Duff, in fact, plays on three songs on my new album. I talked to Slash the other day and I was on the brink of playing a show with him, but it didn't work. Everyone is very active, healthy, and have lots of work to do.


Izzy would also talk fondly about playing with Axl and Slash back in the days:

Izzy talking about how the songs he writes for his solo records are the same as the songs he wrote for Guns N' Roses:

There was a chemistry there that worked well. Sometimes our way of working was slow and complicated, if I compare it to what I do now, but the main thing was that the results were very good. It's much simpler now with my band. Now I don’t have to discuss with two other people whenever I write something.


And specifically working with Slash:

Musically, we contributed stuff mutually, and we tried to put in more effort than the others. (Laughter) And at a personal level, well, we took many drugs together in the ‘80s, and after a while we got sick of it and quit. I still consider him a friend and we stay in touch.
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